Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Like Terms

Oy! We're reviewing for our geometry finals. We're including a ton of algebra embedded very sneakily into problems. We have to dredge our minds to remember that using the Pythagorean Theorem on a right triangle with sides of length: x, 5, and 3x means that I can't just write, "3x^2"; I have to write "(3x)^2".

Then we have to remember that sometimes like terms are tricky little buggers. How do you add x^2 + x^2? Hmmm, maybe it's x^4, or maybe it's 2x^4, or maybe I just don't know. Here's a conversation I tried to get started so that a student could see the light and say, "OH! but of course, Ms. D, that's OBVIOUSLY 2x^2". It went something like this:

Me: Okay, the numbers in front are just counting numbers.
Me: For example, what's one cat plus one cat?
Her: A kitten.


We FINALLY got it. This time.

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