I don't understand the steps of how to do it. Do we add first or multiply? Why do we have to make a chart? How do we find our answer?

Example of Factoring a Trinomial

Factor x2 + 5x + 4

1) identify a,b, and c in the trinomial

ax2 + bx+c a= 1

b= 5

c= 4

2) write down all factor pairs of 4

(Note: since 5 is positive we only need to think about pairs that are either both positive or both negative. Remember a negative times a negative is a positve. As the chart on the right shows you -2*-2 is positive 4...so we do have to consider these two negative factors. This is probabily easier to understand if you watch our video lesson factoring trinonmials)

3) identify which factor pair from the previous step sums up to c

4) Substitute that factor pair into two binomials (x +4)(x+1)

5) If you'd like, you can check your work by multiplying the two binomials and verify that you get the original trinomial (x +4)(x+1) = x2 + 5x + 4

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