Reflection: Relevance Seeing Structure in Expressions - Factoring Higher Order Polynomials - Section 2: Structured Discussion


A few years ago, one of my Algebra 2 sections had a table of students that were really excited about computer programming.  There were many times that I would introduce a new topic in class that reminded these students about a related concept in computer science.  Here are some examples:

  • algorithms: an algorithm is a set of rules to be followed in solving a problem.  This definition holds for both computer science and math.
  • functions: there are functions in both Algebra 2 and in computer programming.  They both take input and turn it into output.  Often in computer programming you need to specify what type of input a function can take, which is related to the concept of domain.
  • sub-procedures (or "sub-proc's"): In algebra 2, skills like factoring and simplifying expressions are often only one part of a larger problem (like graphing a higher order polynomial).  In computer science, this is referred to a "subprocedure" and I find that using this term helps students stay focused on the goal of the task at hand.

I always wish I could do a better job of helping my students get a taste of what computer science is all about, but at this time I am really a beginner myself.  We participate in the "Hour of Code" each year and discuss the similarities outlined above, which is a beginning.  

Truly understanding how the math I teach in Algebra 2 is connected to the work of computer programmers is something that I am very interested in.  This is an area that I continue to grow in, often with the help of my students!



  Connections to Computer Science
  Relevance: Connections to Computer Science
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Seeing Structure in Expressions - Factoring Higher Order Polynomials

Unit 4: Polynomial Theorems and Graphs
Lesson 1 of 15

Objective: SWBAT extend their quadratic factoring skills in order to write polynomial expressions in factored form.

Big Idea: Like quadratic expressions, some higher order polynomial expressions can be rewritten in factored form to reveal values that make the expression equal to zero.

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