Thursday, March 12, 2009

Four Fun Ways to Review Factoring Trinomials

This week in Algebra I, we're studying how to factor trinomials. The kids have done really well so far, so I just want to review tomorrow and build their knowledge and confidence heading into a quiz on Friday.

I thought about revisiting my FOIL bingo game from two weeks ago, which the kids found difficult at the time because I was really asking them to un-FOIL. Their bingo cards contained factors, and the call sheet contained the trinomials, so if they had known then what they know now, it would've been a breeze. I'm leaning towards not using it so as not to wear out the novelty of the game. I'd like to have it in my arsenal for later in the year.

Instead, a little online research turned up four fun review games for factoring trinomials:
  1. Factoring Cut-Out (PDF) - Students cut up a sheet of sixteen cards that have a mix of factors and trinomials (and a few other polynomials) written on all four sides. They have to rearrange the cards so that each trinomial lines up with its correct factor. The coefficient of "a" is one for all of the trinomials, so this should be fairly easy. I'm definitely using this one tomorrow!
  2. "I Have... Who Has...?" Factoring (Word) - Essentially a matching game, students would have to work cooperatively in a large group in order to match each trinomial to its factor. You could adapt this by deleting "I Have" and "Who Has" from each card and making this a straightforward matching game, or by having small groups play a "Go Fish" type of card game.
  3. Algebra Connect Factoring Game (PDF) - It looks simple enough to set up and play, but you would need several pairs of dice.
  4. Factoring Puzzle (PDF) - This is similar to Factoring Cut-Out, but there are two different versions to play. There's a ton of related materials on the Henrico County Public Schools Algebra 1 website.
The first three games are from, a math lesson database that I explored for the first time today. The site has a small but seemingly high quality collection of free resources and activities all uploaded by teachers. One warning: I found the site's built-in search completely useless--I couldn't even find the activities listed above when searching for their exact titles! Instead, search the site via Google by adding "" before your desired terms.

Share links to your best resources in the comments!


Sarah said...

A hint on using I Love Math (because I had the same trouble a year ago). The site has two different searches running. I think the one that I go to by default searches the message boards but not the posted lessons and activities. To get those you need a different site search.

Go to the Lesson Plans & Activities section. The link is in the sidebar.
Click "Search Document" under the magnifying glass.
This will take you to the search page you're looking for.

Using the Google site search makes sense and may be more efficient. Just wanted to let you know the I Love Math works better than we first think.

Calculus Dave said...

Thanks for the ideas. We're just starting a chapter on rational functions and the first step on doing anything (from simplifying to adding or multiplying) is to factor the expressions.

Marcin said...

Thanks a lot for those great suggestions, really appreciated. I am planning to do more games and activities with my students and your ideas are perfect - just what I need.

Thank you very much!

Miss Merrick said...

I just wanted to say thank you for all your wonderful ideas - I am a first year teacher (algebra) and I am not even fully certified in math (still working on finishing the courses) and actually graduated with a degree in agricultural education.

That being said, it has been a big switch and your site has helped make it so much easier! I love math and I want my students to enjoy it too, and every activity we have done from your site, they have loved. Thanks again!!!

algebra student said...

hello im a algebra student and my teacher decided to hand out the factoring cut out worksheet and ive been trying to solve it for 3 plus hours and i cant figure it out, please help. my email is

Cortney Woodward said...

LOVE the website!!! Thank you!

Tom DeRosa said...

dirtracer: Remember that you can multiply the factors together to get the polynomial; you don't have to start with the polynomial and un-FOIL it since you have both! The other trick is to be careful of positive and negative signs, which make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

On the second factoring puzzle from the fourth option, there is a mistake. In order for the puzzle to work, x^2-y^2 must match up with (x+4)(x-4)