I remember the first time someone showed me a Diamond Problem - a cool math puzzle that transformed factoring from something scary into something fun. I showed my students an example and had them create the algorithm. Before they knew it, they were slaying factoring problems.
Then we would review for the EOC, the students would see a factoring problem and get excited because they could answer it with a diamond problem. But I would hear the same question over and over, "Where do the numbers go in the diamond?" It was interesting because they knew they wanted factors that multiply to the constant and add to the middle term, but they were so hung up properly arranging them in the diamond that they got stuck.
As the factoring unit approaches this year, I thought back to my beloved diamond problem and how my students were confused about something that didn't matter, and I made the difficult decision to nix the diamond.
game from Scaffolded Math and Science. It got the students thinking about numbers just like the diamond problems did. They loved the game format, and I even offered some candy to the first correct answer just to up the engagement even more.
We filled out this table, and I love helped them to see the connection between factoring and distributing.
Search and Shade activity to practice. The heart is super timely if you are Factoring right now, but they can celebrate their love for factoring anytime ;)