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.
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.
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…
Updated Version of Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer
In later years, I simplified the naming polynomials graphic organizer a bit.
We followed this up with a naming polynomials practice sheet I created.
I have also created a similar naming polynomials poster that you can hang in your classroom.
Free Download of Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer
Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer (PDF) (954 downloads)
Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (573 downloads)
Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer – Updated (PDF) (856 downloads)
Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer – Updated (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (392 downloads)
More Activities for Teaching Polynomials
- X Puzzles Review Game
- Quadratic Area Puzzles
- Shared Factors – A Quadratics Puzzle
- Naming Polynomials Poster
- Naming Polynomials Speed Dating Activity
- Dividing Polynomials Using the Box Method Puzzles
- Area Model Puzzles from Christie Bradshaw
- Adding and Subtracting Polynomials Graphic Organizer
- Writing Polynomials in Standard Form Foldable
- Factoring Quadratics Foldable
- Multiplying Polynomials Foldable
- Naming Polynomials Practice Sheet
- Polynomial or Not Color Coding Activity
- Polynomial Frayer Model Template
- Roots Solutions Zeros X-Intercepts Posters
- Multiplying Polynomials Egg Hunt Activity
- Human Polynomials Activity
- Introducing Algebra Tiles to Students
- Building and Naming Polynomials Activity
- Factoring Trinomials with GCFs Question Stack Activity
- Factoring Polynomials Using the Box Method Directions
- Looking for Patterns in Factoring Quadratics
- Factoring Quadratics Question Stack Activity
- Dividing Polynomials Using the Box Method Activity
- Dividing Polynomials Using the Box Method Foldable
- Multiplying Polynomials Using the Box Method Foldable
- Adding and Subtracting Polynomials Notes
- Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book
- Standard Form of a Polynomial Interactive Notebook Page
- Factoring out the GCF of a Polynomial Foldable
- Factoring vs Distributing Card Sort Activity
- Factoring Quadratics Using the Box Method Foldable
- Naming Polynomials Graphic Organizer
- Factoring Quadratics Graphic Organizers
- Adding and Subtracting Polynomials Activity