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All about math.  Are you experiencing trouble with your high school or college math class.  Here you can ask your questions and find your answers.  We talk about algebra,  geometry, trigonometry, precalculus and most any other math subject you want.  Ask a question or help someone else with their math question.  It's all about students helping students.

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Geometry of Linear Algebra as presented by MIT OCW

This is final exams week for students at ITT Technical Institute. If any of you math students need help with preparing for your final exam you can check here in our FORUM.  Here you can help each other.  If you need to know how a formula works just ask.  If you need a formula for something and you have forgotten or cannot find it in your text, just ask.  Mr. Trent and other students will be in the FORUM to help out.  Good luck to you on your final exams.

Order of Operations

One of the most important things to learn in algebra is the "order of operations".  This is how we determine what to do first, second, third and so on.  If you don’t follow the proper order of operations then you will usually get the wrong answer.  I say usually because sometimes you can luck out and get the right answer even following the wrong order.

There is a phrase that many students help them to remember the “order of operations".   It is Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  “P” is for parenthesis, “E” is or exponent, “M” is for multiplication, “D” is for division, “A” is for addition and “S” is for subtraction.  Follow this order and you won’t go wrong.

There is a common problem that I see many students have with this.  Often whenever they see parenthesis in their problem, they want to multiply.  The parenthesis, in the order of operations, actually means to do what is inside the parenthesis.  You may have (X + 3) which leaves you with not being able to do anything inside the parenthesis.  Then you move on to exponents.  But, if you have (X+3 – 7) then you combine the plus 3 and the minus 7.

If you have any questions about the “order of operations”, please leave me a reply here, I will respond.

The mathematical constant 

 , sometimes written as Pi, is approximately equal to 3.14159... Each year, Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 by math enthusiasts around the world. You have been selected to explore the meaning of Pi and to celebrate Pi Day through online activities.

Check it out at Math Goodies

With many algebra problems, factoring is required to solve it.  So here are my 6 steps to factoring a binomial or a trinomial.  Just always bear in mind that some problems cannot be factored.

  1. GCF, find the Greatest Common Factor.  If you need to, you can use a factor tree to figure this out.  Bear in mind, many problems will not have a GCF.  If there is no GCF then just go on to step #2.
  2. Check for a coefficient in front of your squared term.  If there is no coefficient or the coefficient is 1 then proceed to step #3.  If there is a coefficient then we abandon this process and use a different process.  There are several to choose from that we can talk about later.
  3. Make two sets of paraenthesis.
  4. Whatever your squared variable is, put that variable inside the front of both sets of paraenthesis.
  5. SIGN, find out what sign to use in the two sets of paraenthesis.  We do this by looking at the last number in our binomial or trinomial that we are attempting to factor.  If this last number is a negative, then we put a positive sign in one set of parenthesis and a negative in the other set of paraenthesis.  If the last number is a positive, then both signs will be the same as the sign of the middle number of our trinomial.
  6. Find the numbers to go in the paraenthesis.  We do this by finding all the factors of the last number in the trinomial.  Example, for the number 6 we would have factors of 1 x 6 and 2 x 3.  Then we add them together to see which one results in the middle term of our trinomial.  Also, if your two signs from step 5 are positive then both of your factors are positive.  By the same though, if your two signs from step 5 are negative then both of your factors are negative.  In the situation where your signs from step 5 are one positive and one negative, then you write down your factors twice, one time making the first factor positive and the second negative.  The second time your make the first factor negative and the second positive.  This will cover all the possibilities for our factors.

I hope this step-by-step method works for you.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Jerome Trent


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