Factoring has been my nemesis for years. I don't think I have taught it entirely the same way twice. My students arrive in Algebra 2 with some experience in factoring, but I always feel like many of them are learning it from scratch.
This year's changes to the factoring extravaganza include adding in this activity, where students try to match two binomials to each quadratic:
I had students do this matching activity before I gave them any specific factoring strategies or rules (we had previously reviewed multiplying binomials). I wanted them thinking about the question "What two binomials multiply to get this polynomial?" I wanted them to develop some intuition about factoring before I hit 'em with a specific method.
After ten minutes of this, a few groups were finished. The rest were making progress but it was a struggle. "Isn't there another way to do this, Mrs. Gruen?" Well, yes there is, I am so glad you asked! And then I showed them the airplane method, which I tweaked a tiny bit this year (I will write about that soon). And they just ate it up.
Here are the files:
Factoring Work Mat #1
Factoring Work Mat #2