Image Source: Oklahoma Algebra 1 Standards |

I say all this to explain why I'm spending time on factoring monic quadratics in Algebra 2. Most would use this as an Algebra 1 activity.

Pairs of students were given a Factoring Monic Quadratics Mat which featured six different quadratics to be factored. Ideally, I would have laminated these, but I was running out of time.

I did laminate the factors that students had to choose from. I printed them on colored paper to make them stand out on the mat.

In pairs, students tried to use the choices in the answer bank to factor each quadratic.

For example, the first quadratic could be factored as (x - 1)(x - 2).

And, that's all there really is to the activity. It's nothing extraordinary, but it was a great way to measure where my students' factoring skills were.

If I were to do this activity again, I would make multiple factoring mats that used the same set of factoring cards. Then, when a group finished early, I could automatically give them some new challenges to complete.

I'm currently planning for a new prep for next year, so this isn't at the top of my to do list. Bill Carrera shared some sets he created on Twitter after I posted some photos of my students completing this activity. Be sure to check them out!

It was interesting to see my students take different approaches to these puzzles. Some tackled the puzzles in order. Others jumped around. A surprising number of them fell for my distractor choices which told me two things. First, I picked good distractors. Secondly, it was a very good thing we were spending time practicing these factoring problems in class.

Want to try this activity with your own students? I have uploaded the files here.

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