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Factoring Trinomials, a is not 1 - Problem 11

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Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

Factoring is the process of turning a sum or difference into a product, or multiplication problem. In this case, we're looking to turn a trinomial into the product of two binomials. One interpretation of this that is useful for visual learners is to think of how the area of a rectangle is equal to the product of the sides. In a 2 by 2 box, the upper left and bottom right areas of the rectangle are fixes, but in order to find the other parts of the box, a "diamond" trick is drawn, where the top of the diamond is the product of the the trinomial's first and third terms, and the bottom of the diamond is the middle term. Find two numbers that multiply to the top and add to the bottom, and those will be the diagonals in the rectangle model.

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