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Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring - Problem 3

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

Here’s a problem that I want to solve by factoring. What I’m going to be doing is looking for two numbers that multiply to +9 and add up to +6. That’s not too hard I know that’s going to be x plus 3 and x plus 3.

Now this is kind of strange because what I have is x plus 3 squared equal to 0 and I need to set each factor equal to 0 in order to solve for x but both the factors are the same that’s okay. What I have going on here is a problem where I have only one solution. The only solution comes from setting x plus 3 equals 0 because both my factors are the same. What this means is the only number that will make this statement true is the value -3.

Let’s just check and make sure that -3 does indeed work. -3 times itself is 9 plus, 6 times -3 plus 9 if that’s equal to 0 I’m a happy camper. 9 take away 18 plus 9 good, it does indeed equal to 0.

So this is a strange problem because I have only one solution, the way you might recognize this is if you are good at spotting perfect square trinomials. This is a perfect square trinomial because it comes from a binomial times itself. Anytime you have a perfect square trinomial it means you are only going to have one x solution.

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