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Understanding Greatest Common Factor

Freshmen in Sarah Mullan’s Algebra I class worked on a number of polynomial expressions as they gained a clearer understanding of the process and use of greatest common factor (GCF). As a class, Mullan and the students worked together through several examples to simplify polynomials by factoring out the GCF. Then, students practiced more problems in partners before presenting their answers to the class. The class culminated with students applying their knowledge of GCF to more complicated situations, such as factoring by grouping, where they have to factor out a GCF twice within one problem, including a GCF that has two terms (known as a binomial) instead of just one.