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Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book

I created this parts of a polynomial practice book for my students to work through at the beginning of our unit on polynomials. In the past, I’ve always jumped straight from definition of a polynomial to naming polynomials.  And, my kids have always struggled.  This year, I decided to add in two intermediate steps.  This added an extra day, but I think it’s already paid for itself by speeding up things as we move along through the unit.

Polynomials are one of my favorite algebra topics to teach.  It’s the type of topic that sounds scary.  But, I love getting to show students just how un-scary these problems can be.  Every year, my explanations are getting clearer, and I’m more in tune to what students are going to find frustrating.  This year, we’re flying through polynomials in Algebra 2 really quickly.  Things seem to be clicking after the first explanation.  Yay!

I made a poof booklet to explain how to identify the different parts of a polynomial.  Then, we did two examples together.  Students later did a few more examples on their own.

Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book

I felt like the cover of our poof book was a bit lacking.  Next year, I’m totes going to add some cute clip art.

Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book

Students were asked to underline the terms and highlight the coefficients.

Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book

Then, they circled the constant if it existed.  They rewrote the leading term below.

Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book

Then, they identified the leading coefficient and the degree of the polynomial.  We were only dealing with single-variable polynomials.  I didn’t teach them to find the degree of x^2y^2 – xy + 5.

Only one student noticed my missing “L” in “LABEL.”  I didn’t even notice it.  Sad day…  I hate when I make typos.

Parts of a Polynomial Practice Book

Things I liked about this: students weren’t confusing degree and number of terms.  This re-emphasized that terms take the sign in front of them.  This will be important throughout the year.  It was another chance to practice spotting invisible numbers.  I made them write in the invisible coefficients.  It helped set us up for our discussion of standard form!

More Activities for Teaching Polynomials

Francesca Bevilacqua

Thursday 19th of January 2017

Thank you Sarah, I will use your work to introduce polynomials in english to my italian class. We call this CLIL = content and language integrated learning and I'm always hungry for ideas to do it. Your work is simply perfect for me. All the best, Francesca

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Friday 3rd of March 2017

You are welcome!


Thursday 28th of January 2016

How do you fold the booklet? Thanks for sharing your resources!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

Instructions found on this post:

Good luck!

Karen Wainright

Tuesday 29th of December 2015

The standard form file only has a publisher file. Could you add a pdf file as well like the others have? I can't wait to use these ideas when we get back from Christmas break!!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Tuesday 5th of January 2016

Should be fixed now. Thanks for letting me know!

Dan Campbell

Saturday 26th of December 2015

Hi Sarah,

Is there a single word, for a monomial, without the coefficient?

In other words, the third monomial in

5x + 3y + 6xy^2

is 6xy^2.

The coefficient here is 6. But what is the product of x and y squared called? Is it just called the variable part of the monomial? Or is there a shorter term for it?

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Tuesday 5th of January 2016

That is a very good question I do not know the answer to.

Nancy in Indiana

Thursday 8th of October 2015

It's such a great feeling when you teach something the second or third time and can see changes you've made helping students understand better!

I've got to find a way to use the speed dating concept in German class...

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Thursday 8th of October 2015

Yes! I think you could definitely use speed dating in German. I know my kids love getting out of their seats, and they end up doing a lot more practice with a lot less complaining this way!

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