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Topic: Factoring Quadratics

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Subject:   RE: Factoring Quadratics
Author: Craig
Date: Jan 26 2009
Hi, Linda!

The You-Tube factoring guide:  nicely done.
The rant about factoring:  well-written and well-reasoned.  However, as it
stands, there are a few flaws.  The greatest flaw is that the author (you?
Janita somebody or other?) is not identified--the "about" link would be a
great place to give some background (and credibility) to the opinions
The geo-gebra demonstration:  cool.

Back to factoring.  I agree that teaching factoring for the sake of solving
quadratic equations is virtually useless.  However, teaching factoring as an
application or extension of the properties of integers, or as a mental
"flexibility" exercise, or as part of a "simplify to understand" toolkit, can be
valuable.  And when I say teaching factoring, I'm not referring to a "this is
how you do it" approach--though my students would probably prefer that.  I
teach gifted students (for the most part), and our classroom discussion about
your video might start out with "Why does this work?"  "Why did she insist on
placing the different pieces where she did on the table?"  "Why did she choose
those four examples?"  These same students want to learn completing the square
because they want to understand the proof of the quadratic formula--they're
not satisfied with a hand-wavy justification.

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