Factoring is the reverse of multiplying. The factors of a trinomial like x² + 7x + 12 are two expressions that multiply to make x² + 7x + 12. This is the same as finding the length and width of a rectangle with area of x² + 7x + 12. So form a rectangle using tiles that represent x² + 7x + 12. Start with the largest tile, x². Next add the seven x tiles around the x² tile. Finally, place 12 unit tiles. If the result does not create a rectangle, rearrange the x tiles and unit tiles. The factors are the length and width of the rectangle, or (x + 4) and (x + 3).

Factoring Trinomials using the Brainingcamp Algebra Tiles virtual manipulative.

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