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Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer

Today I want to share a naming polynomials graphic organizer I created for my students to glue in their algebra interactive notebooks. I want to start by sharing how my philosophy regarding teaching vocabulary has changed recently.

Last year, I had a conversation with a student that changed my outlook on vocabulary.  This was not my own student but the child of a coworker.  Before tutoring him one day, he was sitting in his mom’s office, discussing why he was having so much trouble in algebra.  He said, “My teacher just keeps going on and on and on.  And, he keeps saying this word that nobody knows what it means.  And, the whole class is lost.”  Naturally, I wanted to know what the word was.  “I don’t know.  I think it starts with a b.”  Since they were working on polynomials and factoring, I took an educated guess: “binomial.”  Yes, that was the word.  Once I described to this student what a binomial was, he began to realize that maybe this wasn’t as hard as he had made it out to be.

This year, I am emphasizing vocabulary more.  I don’t want students to think that I use words without ever telling them what they mean.  At the very least, they should know that the vocabulary word should be in their interactive notebook somewhere.

polynomial frayer model algebra interactive notebook

We spent an entire 50-minute period on the definition of a polynomial and how to name polynomials.  Is this on the EOI?  No.  But should I still teach it?  Yes!  When my students see one of these words, I want them to feel confident, not confused or frustrated.  These are words they will encounter for the rest of their mathematical careers.  I’m hoping that by putting emphasis on them now, I will save my students a lot of grief later on.

naming polynomials graphic organizer algebra interactive notebook

I told my students that when polynomial parents have children, they don’t get to choose their names like human parents do.  Instead, polynomial parents must follow strict naming rules.  I lamented about how sad this was.  I mean, what if the parents wanted to be creative?  What if the parents wanted their child to have the same last name as them?  The first name of any polynomial child is determined by its degree.  The last name of any polynomial child is determined by its number of terms.

One of my students asked me if I was going to use these rules to name my own children.  Apparently, I seem like the type of person who would name my child “Cubic Trinomial.”  I guess I should take that as a compliment…

naming polynomials graphic organizer algebra interactive notebook

Updated Version of Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer

naming polynomials graphic organizer in interactive notebook.

In later years, I simplified the naming polynomials graphic organizer a bit.

naming polynomials graphic organizer in interactive notebook.

We followed this up with a naming polynomials practice sheet I created.

Naming Polynomials Practice Sheet in interactive notebook.

I have also created a similar naming polynomials poster that you can hang in your classroom. 

Naming Polynomials Poster

More Activities for Teaching Polynomials