Factoring/Solving Quadratics – My Best Unit So Far This Year

Ok so it’s only the third unit of the year for Integrated Math 2, but my first was just meh (lots of beginning of the year trying to figure out how to teach again kind of stuff) and my second was definitely bad (very low test scores at the end even though I thought they’d do better). This unit not only felt like it was going great during it, but also ended with great test scores (highest of all the Math 2 teachers, but I don’t want to brag 🙂 )!

The unit was 19 days long, with one quiz and one test. Here’s what I did:

Day 1: Had to go over the previous test and then played this game to introduce the factoring process that I got from Simplify With Me.


Day 2: Asked students to get a dry erase marker and eraser to write on their desk. I used Meg’s Guess and Check sheet to structure my teaching of factoring, but I added a little bit at the end for when there’s no b or c.


docx: Factoring Notes      pdf: Factoring Notes

Yes, I know no c means there’s a GCF and no b means difference of squares, but I decided to make them just like all the other practice problems. In time, most students found the pattern themselves. Note: I taught a>1 before a=1. It was amazing. My students are used to knowing about the “invisible 1”, so when they encountered a=1 they just knew there were factors of 1 and 1. It saved so much time.

And I also accidentally left Meg’s bit about the slide and divide in there but in each class there was someone who said “But my sister did…” or “My teacher last year did…” so it was kind of nice to have it in there.

Day 3-6: Just a whole bunch of factoring practice. Each day I started by doing a problem together as a class, either from their homework or one that was challenging from the day before. Then I’d have some practice for them – A Kuta worksheet or one of the Algebra with Pizzazz worksheets. I usually let students just practice at their own pace. I also used some open middle problems as challenges for students that needed it. At the end of each class, I had students do a problem as an exit slip but then took their answers with Plickers. The next day, I would address the students that didn’t answer correctly. It was great to just have those days to practice without having the pressure to move on. On one of the days, I had students do a Desmos Card Sort with trying to find the factors.

Side note: I was in the hallway one day during the passing period and a student came out to speak to the Math 2 teacher next door to me, showing him a problem he was trying with the X method and he had to get the factors of some crazy number like 468 and was super stressed about it. I was reminded of how great the Guess and Check method is at that moment.

Day 7: Quick review and then a quiz. The quiz was awesome. I mean the students did great – only two out of 98 students had their grade go down from the quiz. Happy happy happy.

Day 8: Factor by grouping notes and practice. I started with another sheet from Meg, but really just ended up going through how to do it because of time and my students didn’t need the review of everything else. Then we just did more practice problems.


Day 9: I described the Desmos Card Sort that I did here for practice. It was also when I had my formal observation.

Day 10: Introduction to Zero Product Property. I took Amy’s advice and did this game. It even got some students in my first hour to smile! Also, I got a laugh when I showed the first quadratic equation to solve that needed factoring and I was asking what could we do to get it to look like the problems we had already done (ones that were already factored) and someone shouted “factor” and I said “Yes, my favorite F word!” Haha still makes me laugh.

Day 11: Solving by factoring practice. Some with a GCF to factor out.

Day 12: Factor by Grouping and Solving by Factoring review and Mini-Quiz. Results were also good for this quiz.

Day 13: Showed a problem that wasn’t factorable and asked them to solve. Then introduced the quadratic formula. I showed them a video with the song to Pop Goes the Weasel. I also had the students do Sarah’s memorization assignment, which I thought I’d get some complaints from but overall the kids actually enjoyed showing off that they knew it.

Day 14-16: Solving by quadratic formula practice. I showed a different video of a quadratic formula song each day. The groans got louder and louder but I know that secretly they loved them all. I also had Plickers exit slips each day so I could see where they were at.

Crank That Quadratic Formula

One Direction Quadratic Formula

Solve Me Maybe

In these days I also threw in the discriminant to find out how many real solutions there are by having them try a bunch of quadratic formula problems with each type of discriminant to kinda push them to “discover” the rules.

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After that I also had a quick lesson about complex numbers. I had this from last year but I’m pretty sure I stole it from Meg since last year I took everything from Meg.

docx: Complex Number Notes    pdf: Complex Number Notes

BTW up until this I was able to tell students that they could do every calculation they needed with Desmos if they didn’t own a calculator, but here’s a place where the TI-84 can do a calculation that Desmos can’t. Or maybe it can. Can it?

Day 17-18: Review – my department has a rule where we give students a study guide that looks exactly like the test. Something I wish could be different after seeing Tyrone and Kelly present about Revamping your Review Day. So I did a review Quizizz and then spent a day on the study guide.

Day 19: Test that was a big morale boost for me and my students 🙂

Overall, I think the #1 reason this went so well was that there was time. It was the first time all year that I felt like I was not rushed. I know the students appreciated this, too.

J’aimerais avoir le temps de ralentir tout le temps.