Discussion:  All Topics in Algebra 
Topic:  Factoring Quadratics 
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Subject:  RE: Factoring Quadratics 
Author:  Craig 
Date:  Jan 26 2009 
The YouTube factoring guide: nicely done.
The rant about factoring: wellwritten and wellreasoned. However, as it
stands, there are a few flaws. The greatest flaw is that the author (you?
Janita somebody or other?) is not identifiedthe "about" link would be a
great place to give some background (and credibility) to the opinions
expressed.
The geogebra 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" approachthough 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 formulathey're
not satisfied with a handwavy justification.
 
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