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Multiplying Polynomials: Special Cases - Problem 5

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

One of the most common mistakes students make in Algebra 1 as well as in upper level math classes is "distributing" an exponent over a sum or difference. When you have a binomial squared, it's not the same thing as each term squared- rather, we still need to FOIL or use "double distributing" or a box to multiply the terms correctly. Here we look at special cases that are common- squaring a binomial, which results in what we call a perfect square trinomial. You might choose to memorize the pattern, or alternatively just be precise in your multiplying technique.

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