Day 128: Thanks Oprah

Yesterday algebra started multiplying polynomials. A lot of the problems were products of monomials with polynomials, something like:

x(3x² + 8x – 14)

For the entire year I have been looking for a way to get students to remember to distribute the x to each term. A lot of students call it Santa hat, I didn’t introduce that, who knows…?

I was looking through Youtube earlier in the week and came across this video.

I played it for my classes after they worked on the problem above; blank stares, they were not sure how it connected. I told ’em that was a new car and asked “According to Oprah, who gets a new car?”

EVERYBODY GETS A CAR

EVERYBODY GETS AN X

Then we moved onto products of binomials

(x + 3)(x + 4)

EVERYBODY GETS AN X

and

EVERYBODY GETS A 3

Today, I talked about FOIL. I was really excited for once to get a bunch of blank stares again, after showing them this:

FOIL

They didn’t need FOIL to remember to multiply terms, or make a face by connecting terms. They just did it. Their future is looking hopeful when multiplying binomial by polynomial or polynomial by polynomial.

Students even started using the word “distribute” instead of “everybody gets an x”, without any prompting on my end.

This content isn’t the most exciting, but my students are excited that they are having a ton of success in multiplying these things.

Thanks Oprah.

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