Conic sections are one of the most practical topics included in the algebra II curriculum.  They have connections to many other areas of mathematics including geometry at the high school level and other college level topics.  The practical applications of conic sections are numerous and occur both in nature and through technology.  Also the skills learned in this unit extend beyond simply learning about conic sections.  Students learn how to think critically and creatively about these shapes and about ideas in general.  They will learn how to go from a definition to an equation by breaking it down into its parts and analyzing what each part means.  Additionally students will learn to think outside the box and develop creative problem solving skills.  Working in groups will give students a chance to learn how to share ideas and responsibilities with others.  The alternative assessment at the conclusion of the unit allows students to choose their own focus to some extent and put together a presentation for the class.  This is a skill that will be useful to students in many areas of life outside the classroom.  Regardless of interest, career path, or learning style this unit offers all students an opportunity to be successful and learn something that they will use later in life.