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Calculus IV
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Course: Algebra II / Intermediate Algebra
Topic: Factoring
Subtopic: GCFs & Grouping

Overview

Remember "prime factoring" from an arithmetic class, e.g. 12=2*2*3? Well, that is what we are going to do in this lesson, except with polynomials. Factoring a polynomial is basically "unmultiplying". Whereas distributing takes 7x(2x+3) to 14x2+21x, factoring does this backwards taking 14x2+21x to 7x(2x+3). There are several methods of factoring, but we will start with the GCF method and the grouping method. Two things to keep in mind:

Factoring is used extensively in the remainder of the course so really spend some quality time this week practicing problems. As you do so look for patterns that may help you to identify which factoring method works on which polynomials.

Objectives

By the end of this topic you should know and be prepared to be tested on:

Terminology

Define: to factor, a factor, factored form, "completely factored form", product, "a product of factors", GCF = greatest common factor, grouping method, "to group factor"