Math = Love: Trig: Simplifying Radicals and Rationalizing the Denominator

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Trig: Simplifying Radicals and Rationalizing the Denominator

Here are my interactive notebook pages for reviewing how to simplify radicals.  These are for my trig class which means each one of these students has already had a thorough dose of radicals in Algebra 2.  For some students in this class, it's been two years since Algebra 2.  And, a little review of radicals is necessary since we'll be dealing with heaps of radicals in trig.

I started out with a bit of review of the parts of a radical.  I do this every year, and I love how teaching my students the proper vocabulary words means that talking about radicals is so much easier.  When I started teaching Algebra 2, I always referred to the "index" as the little number in the corner of the radical.  I didn't even know what it was called myself!  I got tired of that very inefficient way of referencing it and actually decided to learn the proper vocab myself.

I also always try to drive home the fact that if the index isn't written, it is automatically a 2!

Then, I typed up some short notes on simplifying radicals.  I'm not really happy with these, but I'm not sure how to explain the process more clearly and succinctly.

I gave my students a simplifying radicals puzzle I found online.  They cut out the pieces, worked out the problem on each edge in their notebook, and assembled the pieces to make a 4 x 4 square.  

The PDF I linked to above (link again) had a nice template for students to paste their pieces into.  My school's copy machine didn't like the gray color it was printed in, and it didn't print.  So, we just glued them straight into our notebooks.

The next day, we did a review of rationalizing the denominator since that shows up in so many trig problems!  I made a poof book with rationalizing the denominator practice problems inside.

You can download the files for these notebook pages here.

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