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Multiplying Binomials with FOIL Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ALG0002
Submitted by: Gus Sorbo
Endorsed by: Dr. Don E. Descy
School/University/Affiliation: Mankato State University Date: June 3, 1997

Grade Level(s): 8, 9, 10


  • Mathematics/Algebra

Description: The FOIL method is an easy way to remember how to multiply binomials.

Objectives: Given two binomials, students will be able to multiply the correct terms of the binomial together and be able to combine the two binomials into a single polynomial.

Prerequisties: Previous knowledge of multiplying variables and coefficients is assumed.

Concepts: The word FOIL is simply an acronym for the method of multiplying
binomials.  It stands for:

 F irst    (multiply the first term of each binomial together)
 O uter   (multiply the two outside terms together)
 I nner   (multiply the two inside terms together)
 L ast     (multiply the last term of each binomial together)

For instance, let’s look at (x 2 +3)(x-2)
F irst     (x 2 )(x)=x 3
O uter    (x 2 )(-2)=-2x 2
I nner    (3)(x)=3x
L ast      (3)(-2)=-6

Now that we have all the terms, we can add them together in descending
order of the power of the variable.  Then we get:
 (x 2 +3)(x-2)=x 3 -2x 2 +3x-6

There, we have multiplied the two binomials into a polynomial.  Using the
FOIL method, students will be more likely to remember how to multiply
binomials, and as a result, show a better understanding of the subject.
Happy FOILing!

Assessment: In their math journals, have students explain the directions to the FOIL method.