Here is a quick video showing various ways of factoring a quadratic. Using the the blocks to show what we are talking about with each factored expression of
3x² + 17x + 24
Can be factored several ways. The most common way is a great example of economy of symbol.
degree of difficulty. Lets understand some basic concepts before we start adding negatives coefficients to the mix. Most text books just dive right in instead of taking it one step at a time.
The blocks take the fear out and make the symbols relate to something tangible in reality. They can actually see it.
Then when you show your students the other forms it's obvious. Then when it's time to start graphing these bad boys finding zeros and more points and the vertex and y-intercepts and such is easy because they already have this much under their belts instead of being inundated with it all at once.
The student in this video is shy and as soon as the camera goes on he chokes up...had the camera not been on he would have had an easier time answering my questions. Anyhow the action figures or lego men or whatever you have are handy to help get the point across.
Got the Star Wars effect going on here...a long time ago in a galaxy not far enough away they were still teaching math like idiots. Then suddenly math was cool...and the kids could see it and the symbols made sense because they could decode them and everybody was laid back and groovy.
For more get a password and head over to the house of math.
Learn to use your base ten blocks.