# How I Teach Factoring Quadratics

I know of a few different methods people use to teach factoring, but I’ve never been a fan of the “fancy” methods.  They just don’t work for me.  When I teach factoring, I actually teach the unit backward.  I teach factoring by grouping, factoring trinomials when a≠1, factoring trinomials when a=1, then special cases.

I start with factoring by grouping, because once students can do that, factoring trinomials is easy.  I tend to spend an extra day teaching factoring by grouping.  When students have that down, I move on to factoring trinomials.  I prefer teaching when a≠1 first, because when a=1 is really just a special case.  If students can handle the “harder” version, there almost isn’t a need to teach the “easier” version.
So, this is how I teach factoring.  This is not revolutionary.  It is not new, or even interesting.  But it works, every time.  I've often heard this method called "splitting the middle".

First, I have students multiply the “a” value by the “c” value.

Then, I tell them they are looking for two numbers that multiply to that value.  I have them make a list.

Only after that do I have them find the pair of numbers that adds to the “b” value.

Next, I have students split the middle and finish by factoring by grouping.  So, example student work for the example would look like this:

I prefer to teach factoring this way because it doesn’t rely on tricks and it works every time.  Also, after this lesson, teaching a=1 is just a special case.

In my TpT store, I have a full unit with activities to teach polynomials and factoring.  The unit includes guided notes, worksheets, warm-ups, activities, and other materials to effectively teach your students. Click to find my Polynomials and Factoring Unit.

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