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Factoring Trinomials, a is not 1 - Problem 6

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

Most people factor trinomials using guess and check, but this can be tedious. Here we'll explore a method that will always work: creating a diamond problem, using the sides of the diamond to re-write the middle term as two terms, and then factoring by grouping. The diamond is set up with the product of the first and third terms on the top, and the middle term on the bottom. Find two integers that multiple to the top and add to the bottom. Use those two numbers to split the "b" term of the original trinomial and then use factoring by grouping. This method takes some practice, but is often less frustrating, especially when the "a" value is not one.

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