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Topic: creative opening question for a lesson


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Subject:   RE: Factoring polynomials
Author: Mathman
Date: Jul 1 2006
On Jul  1 2006, Magdi wrote:
> Dears,
  If this is a stand-alone activity, for teachers you can
> see
one of the Maths. Prgrams like Mathematica, Derive or Maple
or
> MatLab.

Madgi, sorry, but you might want to brush up on your programming skills.
"GOTO"s and line numbers got up and went a long, long time back.  However, the
main point is, and should be, that students really, REALLY need to learn to
factor using pen and paper, and resort to the computer only under adverse
circumstances, such as problems and conditions requiring numerical analysis that
you mention, or graphical analysis.  However, all of that is way beyond the need
to learn simple factoring processes.

If people do want to use software for this [but I rather strongly advise using
the pen and paper approach], and don't have a lot of funding, the spreadsheet
can be used for polynomials of known degree.  If using a higher level language,
it can be easier to first determine the degree, and then find a soltion
accordingly.  However, again, I must stress the importance of students being
able to work through the steps using pen and paper and learned skills and
techniques until mastered.  This is the language they will need in future
studies, and it needs to be at their fingertips.  Such skills make
simplification of larger structures most handy.

David.

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