Reflection: Real World Applications Common Factor the Great Defeats the Candy Zombies! - Section 2: White boards


The story of Common Factor the Great was fun, but I don't think it aided the lesson. Oferring the idea that he was 'still hiding' when my students factored out a smaller factor felt like it circumvented the learning. I was missing an opportunity to help them continue making sense. Instead I suggest continuing to use the halloween candy context. 

For example, when given an expression like 12c + 8e - 16 ask students to recontextualize it using the story of distributing halloween candy. By providing context students are engaging in MP2Ask them to decide what the expression represents and what each term represents before and after factoring.

Before: 12c+8e-16

  • 12c+8e-16 represents groups of trick-or-treaters after receiving candy
  • 12c and 8e are two groups of trick-or-treaters in which each one received the same number of candies
  • 16 (being subtracted) represents a group of 'naughty' trick-or-treaters who had the same number of candies taken away.

This can help them figure out that the same number of candies must be factored out of each group.

After: 4(3c+2e-4)

  • 4 (outside the parentheses) represents the equal number of candies that was distributed to each member of each group.
  • the three terms inside the parentheses represent the number of trick-or-treaters in each of the three groups.

If they result in 2(6c+4e+8), rather than telling them that "Common Factor the Great is still hiding" remind them instead to test for the largest number of candies that could have been distributed. It's okay to remind them that they are using the context to learn math and that they are looking for the Greatest Common Factor. 

Sometimes I catch myself trying to make students feel like they're not doing math. But I think teaching them to understand the math they are doing is more engaging! You might even try having your students create their own context for an expression.

  The silliness here seemed to detract from the lesson
  Real World Applications: The silliness here seemed to detract from the lesson
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Common Factor the Great Defeats the Candy Zombies!

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 19 of 23

Objective: SWBAT use the distributive property to factor variable expressions.

Big Idea: Students will start factoring out multiplication over subtraction.

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Math, factoring polynomial expressions, Expressions (Algebra), distributive property with variables, white boards, student engagement
  54 minutes
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