Distribution Problem

When teaching a pre-algebra course the distribution property for the first time, I had unique incident occur in my classroom. The students had been working to develop an understanding of the distribution property using whole numbers.

For example; 4(3+2) can be simplified by adding 3 and 2 together and then multiplying by 4 giving the result of 20. However, you can also use the distribution property to simplify the expression 4(3+2) by first distributing (multiplying the 4 to both the 3 and the 2) this simplifies to 12+8, which simplifies to 20.

After the students had been using the distribution property for the class hour, we came back together to try some more complex expressions. I asked the question which property should we use to simplify the expression. There was an overeager student that really wanted to answer the question. I went ahead and called of the student. I was so surprised to hear that the property we should use if the DISTRIBATION property. Needless to say I lost my students to a fit of laughter.

Distribation Property: when a student tries to answer a question too fast.


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