Simplifying using the FOIL Method Lessons
The FOIL Method is a process used in algebra to multiply two binomials.
The lesson on the Distributive Property, explained how to multiply a monomial
or a single term such as 7 by a binomial such as (4 + 9x).
But, what if there was a binomial instead of a single term outside of the
parentheses? That is, what if a binomial was being multiplied by another
binomial? An example of this is given below.
This is where the FOIL Method comes in. The next we will explain what the FOIL Method is and how to use it to solve this
FOIL stands for:
First - Multiply the first term in each set of parentheses Outer - Multiply the outer term in each set of parentheses Inner - Multiply the inner term in each set of parentheses Last - Multiply the last term in each set of parentheses
Now let’s give it a try in our problem. We’ll start by multiplying the first term in each set of parentheses and then marking
down the answer below the problem.
Now we will multiply the outer terms and again mark down the answer below the problem.
And the Inners.
And finally the last terms.
Now as you can see the results from the multiplying of the two inners and the
two outers are like terms. Our last step is to combine these like terms. We
see that 6x + 42x = 48x, thus
The FOIL Method cannot always be used to multiply two sets of parentheses. This is the case with the problem below.
The second set of parentheses has 3 terms instead of two. For this,
we will use another method.
First, split the problem by multiplying each term in the left polynomial
by the entire second polynomial as shown below.
Then use the distributive property to simplify each.
Finally, combine like terms.
Examples of the FOIL Method
Solve the following expressions
FOIL Method Resources
|FOIL Method Practice Problems / Worksheet
Practice the skills you acquired here.