Today I’m sharing a factoring flow chart that has been really helpful to my students. Factoring finally clicked for my college algebra students. It was definitely a Hallelujah! moment. The lowest grade on the factoring test was a 95.

I’m definitely not your typical math teacher. When students ask for help during a test, I give it to them. I work at a school where most of my students are years behind in math.

When they recognize that they need help and they make an effort to better understand the material, I am going to give them the help they need.

This meant that for some of my students I worked out a problem similar to #2 and #5 on the board. I sat down by one student who was struggling and put smiley faces by the questions she had gotten correct (every one that she had attempted) to motivate her to keep working.

What helped my students most was having a factoring flow chart. I spent a while searching the internet for one that matched how I had taught the different methods of factoring.

I finally found the perfect flow chart, however. The site has been taken down, but I have uploaded the file below.

By continually referencing it in class, students eventually began to use it on their own. That’s when the light bulbs finally started to go off. Students started to think “I can do this” instead of “This is too hard.”

And, I can say that this is the first time in my life that I have the formulas for factoring sum and differences of cubes memorized.

I’ve used it so many times of late, it’s become ingrained in my memory.

One of my students even decided that we needed to make a giant version of the factoring flow chart to hang on the wall. She wanted us to do this so we wouldn’t always have to get out our copy.

I loved this idea, but creating the whole flow chart wasn’t really feasible. But, yesterday in class, we did make posters with the formulas for difference of squares, sum of cubes, and difference of cubes to brighten our walls.

And, I think my students will use them more since they helped create them.

## Factoring Flow Chart Download

Factoring Flow Chart (PDF) (846 downloads)

## More Resources for Teaching Quadratics

- 15 Fun Factoring Activities for Algebra
- Speedy Squares Activity for Quadratic Regression
- X Puzzles Review Game
- Quadratic Area Puzzles
- Factoring Puzzle for Quadratic Trinomials
- Shared Factors – A Quadratics Puzzle
- Factoring Quadratics Practice Activity (When a = 1)
- If the IRS had discovered the quadratic formula…
- Area Model Puzzles from Christie Bradshaw
- ZERO Game to Introduce Factoring Quadratics
- Vertex Form of a Quadratic Card Sort Activity
- Factoring Quadratics Foldable

EmilyPalmer

Monday 20th of February 2017

Yes, please share the new link or upload the PDF of the file! :)

Xochitl

Sunday 5th of February 2017

link is not working.... please share copy

Unknown

Friday 3rd of February 2017

The link to the flow chart is no longer working. Do you have a copy to share?

Unknown

Thursday 26th of June 2014

I give help on Exams too! Sometimes all my students need is a little encouragement that they know the answer and a small point in the right direction is usually enough for it to click!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Friday 27th of June 2014

Agreed!

Anonymous

Wednesday 12th of September 2012

Great insight about students using the posters since they helped create them. I noticed this in my classroom. When I first started teaching, I put up a lot of pre-made posters I bought at the teacher store. I noticed they made the walls look pretty, but that was about it. It wasn't until I started hanging posters that we made as part of my lessons that students started referring to them and talking about them. The best part is that the posters we make are waaaaay cheaper than buying a fancy poster at the store. :-)