Q&A #426


T2T || FAQ || Ask T2T || Teachers' Lounge || Browse || Search || T2T Associates || About T2T

View entire discussion

From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jul 23, 1998 at 19:53:12
Subject: Re: Factoring

It is tough to say "best" because students learn differently.  I think it is
important that students understand what the multiplication part
(pre-factoring) means.  AND I find area models (algebra tiles) the best way
to explain that concept.  If done in the multiplication phase, then factoring
is just the "undoing" process.

If you are forced to teach factoring more abstractly, then it is important to
give many examples and write the rules out in "plain English" rather than the
way most books specify the rules.

For example:   a^2 - b^2   = (a+b)(a-b)

That is the usual rule.  The students who cannot abstract have no clue as to
what you wrote.   Difference of two squares means "Do I have a perfect square
number minus a perfect square number?"

If so, write down two parentheses, put a + in one and a - in the other.  Now
take the square root of the each of the two squares.   (Of course, students
confuse square and square root!)    You should try to see the TIC TAC TOE
method of factoring that is used in the South Western Publishing Algebra
Series.  My students like it best of all.

 -Claudia, for the Teacher2Teacher

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

Math Forum Home || The Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search

Teacher2Teacher - T2T ®
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.