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Gizmo of the Week: Modeling the Factorization of Quadratic Expressions

111DETFactoring polynomials can be tricky to understand. The Modeling the Factorization of x2 + bx + c Gizmo uses algebra tiles to help with this process. First, students model the given polynomial using the tiles. Then, students arrange the tiles to form a rectangle. At that point, the area of the rectangle is the given polynomial, and the sides of the rectangle are its factors.

This is one of many Gizmos we have that drive home a “big idea” in math: that multiplying things together can be represented in a physical way, as area of a rectangle (and dividing, or factoring, gives you the side lengths of that rectangle).

The interactivity in this Gizmo makes it a great fit for an interactive whiteboard.