Saturday, February 27, 2016

[S1_20160227FZCK] Factorisation by Chunking

Problem / Question


     Here I illustrate the usefulness of chunking to factorise (AmE: factor) an algebraic expression.  Observe that  3a – 2b  is a repeated part of the expression.  I call it a “chunk”.  To make it clear, I rewrite  (3a – 2b)²  as   (3a – 2b)(3a – 2b)  so that you can see it as two copies of the same chunk.  I highlight in yellow one copy of  (3a – 2b)  from each of 
(3a – 2b) (3a – 2b)   and  -3(3a – 2b).  The remaining stuff are highlighted in blue and green.  Take out the yellow chunk as common factor by writing it out on the left in the third line, shown in yellow.  You can pull out the common factor by writing it out to the right if you want, but here I chose to put it on the left.  The result would be equivalent anyway.  Once you have written out the common factor,  you write out the other stuff (shown highlighted in blue and green) into another other bracket.
     Once you understand how it works, you can actually do the second line mentally and write down the answer straightaway.  Chunking is a very useful technique in mathematics.  Here are some more examples of the technique of chunking: (1), (2), (3).

H04. Look for pattern(s)
H10. Simplify the problem
H11. Solve part of the problem

Suitable Levels
Lower Secondary Mathematics (Sec 1 ~ grade 7)
GCE ‘O’ Level “Elementary” Mathematics
* other syllabuses that involve algebra and factorisation (factoring)
* any learner who is interested

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