Now that you’ve gotten a taste for the benefits of analyzing algebraic mistakes, it’s time to explore a second common mistake. This one is so common that nearly every student commits it at least once on the road to algebra success.
As you watch the video, notice how by thinking hard about two expressions, we can think this mistake through to its very root, thus discovering the core difference between two similar-looking algebraic expressions.
And along the road, we’ll learn a general strategy for decoding the meaning of algebraic expressions. What I like about this strategy is that you can use it to understand the meaning of pretty much any algebraic expression, and you’ll see that it’s not a hard thing to do. In fact, it just involves using numbers in a nifty way.
Best of all, students usually find this approach interesting, convincing and even a bit fun. So here goes, Common Algebra Mistake #2 …
Find the GCF, your teacher says … not just for 2 numbers, but for 5 of them.
And yes, you need to do it by prime factorizing.
Can’t you just hear the students’ groans?!
But what if there were a way to do this without prime factorizing? Could it really be?
What I’m about to teach you is a technique that lets you find the GCF of as many numbers as you wish, and with much greater ease than the old factoring technique. (by the way, I don’t really hate the factoring technique … it actually teaches you a lot about numbers … but it can get annoying!).
So why don’t they teach this new way in school? No idea. But let’s just focus on the technique because once you do, you’ll be so much faster at finding the GCF … you’ll be amazing your friends and your teacher, too!
So just kick back, watch the video — and learn …. then do the practice problems at the end of the video, to become a whiz! And remember, if you ever want extra help in the form of tutoring, I’m available — worldwide — thanks to the power of online videoconferencing.
“Get the GCF for these two numbers,” your teacher says.
“How?” you ask.
“Easy,” your teacher replies. “Do what I told you yesterday.”
But perhaps you don’t remember. Or maybe you don’t like the technique your teacher used, telling you to prime factorize the numbers …
Even though that felt awful, now you’re in luck because I’m going to show you another way to find the GCF, one that’s more intuitive and easier than the prime factoring technique. So just sit back and watch the following video. Then do the practice problems at the end of the video. And you’ll know something that even your teacher probably doesn’t know … a thoroughly original way to find the GCF of two numbers.
Here’s a quick video that gives instructors a quick and easy way to explain what the GCF (greatest common factor) is and how it works.