Factorising into single brackets: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
Over the years I have struggled to get my students thinking hard when it comes to factorising into single brackets. Sure, I can make the expressions more and more complicated, but essentially the thought process my students require to solve any question I give them is the same. And that is potentially problematic because, as Professor Robert Coe says, learning happens when students think hard.

Step forward this fantastic resource inspired by the work of Don Steward; students must insert algebraic expressions into the grid so that each column and row multiplies to give the expression at the end. Sounds simple but the clever design of the questions means that students need to think really hard about factors that are common to multiple expressions in order to find the unique arrangement that works.

How can it be used?
This is an ideal problem solving activity to present to students after they have mastered the basics of factorising into single brackets. It is here that they can put their skills to the test, combining them with logical reasoning and deduction. Such an activity might be well suited to paired work, with the usual provision that it is important all students have the opportunity to engage and reap the benefits from thinking hard.

Thanks for sharing!
Craig Barton

Download: Factorising into a single bracket
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