Lesson 9

Standard Form and Factored Form

9.1: Math Talk: Opposites Attract (5 minutes)


This Math Talk encourages students to think about the fact that subtracting a number is equivalent to adding the opposite of that number (that is, \(100-5=100+\text-5\)) and to rely on the structure of the expressions on each side of the equal sign to mentally solve problems. The understandings elicited here will be helpful later in the lesson when students reason that \((x-1)(x-4)\) is equivalent to \((x+\text-1)(x+\text-4)\), which in turn helps them expand the expression using diagrams and the distributive property.

Some students may reason about the value of \(n\) by reasoning. For example, to find \(n\) in \(40-8=40+n\), they see that the left side of the equation is 32 and reason that the number being added to 40 must be negative, and that it must be -8. Others may carry out the steps for solving equations, for example, by subtracting 40 from both sides, or by adding 8 to both sides and then subtracting 48 from both sides.

Any of these strategies are fine. The key point is to recognize that the number being added on one side is the opposite of the value being subtracted from the other side. If after a couple of questions students show an understanding of this, and if time is limited, it is not essential for students to complete all questions.

As students solve these equations mentally, they practice looking for and making use of structure (MP7).


Display one problem at a time. Give students quiet think time for each problem and ask them to give a signal when they have an answer and a strategy. Keep all problems displayed throughout the talk. Follow with a whole-class discussion.

Representation: Internalize Comprehension. To support working memory, provide students with sticky notes or mini whiteboards.
Supports accessibility for: Memory; Organization

Student Facing

Solve each equation mentally.





Student Response

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Activity Synthesis

Ask students to share their strategies for each problem. Record and display their responses for all to see. To involve more students in the conversation, consider asking:

  • “Who can restate \(\underline{\hspace{.5in}}\)’s reasoning in a different way?”
  • “Did anyone have the same strategy but would explain it differently?”
  • “Did anyone solve the problem in a different way?”
  • “Does anyone want to add on to \(\underline{\hspace{.5in}}\)’s strategy?”
  • “Do you agree or disagree? Why?”

If not already made clear in students’ explanations, highlight that subtracting a number is gives the same outcome as adding the opposite of that number.

Tell students that remembering that subtraction can be thought of in terms of addition can help us rewrite quadratic expressions such as \((x-5)(x+2)\) or \((x-9)(x-3)\), where one or both factors are differences.

Speaking: MLR8 Discussion Supports. Display sentence frames to support students when they explain their strategy. For example, “First, I _____ because . . . .” or “I noticed _____ so I . . . .” Some students may benefit from the opportunity to rehearse what they will say with a partner before they share with the whole class.
Design Principle(s): Optimize output (for explanation)

9.2: Finding Products of Differences (20 minutes)


In this activity, students encounter quadratic expressions in factored form where at least one of the factors is a difference. Monitor for students who

  • find it useful to reason with a diagram
  • transfer what they learned when multiplying two sums in the preceding lesson—that \((x+p)(x+q)\) is equivalent to \(x^2 + (p+q)x + pq\)—and use negative numbers for \(p\) and \(q\)

Either approach is welcome, but it is important to transition students to see rectangular diagrams as a way to organize the terms of the factors to directly applying the distributive property.

Students see that \((x-1)(x-1)\) can be expressed as \((x+ \text-1)(x+ \text-1)\), so the sides of the diagram can be labeled accordingly. The negative values in the expressions are not problematic when the expressions do not represent side lengths of a rectangle and the partial products don’t represent areas.


Remind students we have used area diagrams to expand expressions such as \(x(x+5)\) and write equivalent expressions. When dealing with negative numbers, however, thinking in terms of finding area isn’t very helpful. Explain that we can still draw rectangular diagrams, but use them to organize the two factors and the results of applying the distributive property.

For example, this diagram shows that \(x(x+5) = x^2 + 5x\).

  \(x\) \(5\)
\(x\) \(x^2\) \(5x\)

Explain that such diagrams can be used even when subtraction is involved. To represent \(x(x-5)\), we can rewrite it as \(x(x+\text-5)\) then label the diagram as follows:

  \(x\) \(\text-5\)
\(x\) \(x^2\) \(\text-5x\)

The diagram shows that \(x(x-5)=x(x+ \text-5)=x^2 + \text-5x = x^2-5x\).

Arrange students in groups of 2. Give students a moment of quiet time to think about the first question, and then ask them to discuss their response with a partner before continuing to the second question.

Action and Expression: Internalize Executive Functions. To support development of organizational skills, check in with students within the first 2–3 minutes of work time. Check to make sure that students have been able to transition from using area diagrams to the rectangle diagrams that allow for negative values. Some students may benefit from additional support to learn how to draw appropriate diagrams. Consider providing access to some blank or partially completed diagrams to help students get started.
Supports accessibility for: Memory; Organization

Student Facing

  1. Show that \((x-1)(x-1)\) and \(x^2 - 2x + 1\) are equivalent expressions by drawing a diagram or applying the distributive property. Show your reasoning.
  2. For each expression, write an equivalent expression. Show your reasoning.
    1. \((x+1)(x-1)\)
    2. \((x-2)(x+3)\)
    3. \((x-2)^2\)

Student Response

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Anticipated Misconceptions

Some students will write the expression in the last question as \(x^2 - 2^2\). Remind them that just as \(x^2\) means \(x \boldcdot x\), the expression \((x - 2)^2\) means \((x - 2)(x - 2)\).

Activity Synthesis

Select students with contrasting strategies to share their work. Display those that used a diagram first and make connections to those that did not use a diagram.

Emphasize that we can view \(x-1\) as \(x + \text-1\), and the expression \((x-1)(x-1)\) as two sums: \((x + \text-1)(x + \text-1)\). Likewise, the expression \((x+3)(x-2)\) can be viewed as two sums: \((x + 3)(x + \text-2)\). We can then draw diagrams (as shown in Student Response) to organize the terms of the factors. We can also apply the distributive property and distribute the multiplication of each term in one factor to each term in the other factor. Display and explain the following reasoning to students:

Equivalent expressions by using the distributive property.

Time permitting, consider helping students to generalize their work. Remind them that, in an earlier lesson, we saw that a quadratic expression of the form \((x+p)(x+q)\) is equivalent to: \(x^2 + px + qx + pq\) or \(x^2 + (p+q)x +pq\).

Ask students:

  • “Is the expanded expression still equivalent to the factored expression when \(p\) or \(q\) is negative? (Yes, because we can rewrite \((x-p)\) or \((x-q)\) as a sum.) Can you use the examples from the activity to show that it still is or is not?”
  • “What about when both \(p\) and \(q\) are negative? (Yes. Both differences can be rewritten as a sum.) Can you use the examples from the activity to support your answer?”

9.3: What is the Standard Form? What is the Factored Form? (10 minutes)


Students have seen quadratic expressions in both standard form and factored form since the beginning of the unit. In this activity, they learn to distinguish the expressions by their forms and to refer to each form by its formal name. Refining their language about the different forms prepares students to be more precise in their thinking about the graphs of quadratic functions in later lessons (MP6).


Arrange students in groups of 2. Give students quiet work time and then time to share their work with a partner.

Writing, Conversing: MLR1 Stronger and Clearer Each Time. Use this routine to help students improve their writing, by providing them with multiple opportunities to clarify their explanations through conversation. Give students time to meet with 1–2 partners to share their response to the final question, “Why do you think that form is called factored form?” Provide listeners with prompts for feedback that will help their partner add detail to strengthen and clarify their ideas. For example, students can ask their partner, “Can you say more about what each expression means?” or “I understand _____, but can you clarify . . .” Next, provide students with 2–3 minutes to revise their initial draft based on feedback from their peers.
Design Principle(s): Optimize output (for explanation)
Action and Expression: Internalize Executive Functions. Provide students with a graphic organizer that can be used to brainstorm the activity. Include one column for standard form and one column for factored form. Include a space at the bottom of the organizer for student-generated notes or reminders about standard form and factored form.
Supports accessibility for: Language; Organization

Student Facing

The quadratic expression \(x^2 + 4x + 3\) is written in standard form.

Here are some other quadratic expressions. The expressions on the left are written in standard form and the expressions on the right are not.

Written in standard form:

\(x^2 – 1\)

\( x^2 + 9x\)

\(\frac12 x^2\)

\(4x^2 – 2x + 5\)

\(\text-3x^2 – x + 6\)

\(1 - x^2\)

Not written in standard form:

\((2x + 3)x\)


\(3(x-2)^2 +1\)

\( \text-4(x^2 + x) +7\)

\( (x+8)(\text{-}x+5)\)

  1. What are some characteristics of expressions in standard form?
  2. \((x+1)(x-1)\) and \((2x + 3)x\) in the right column are quadratic expressions written in factored form. Why do you think that form is called factored form?

Student Response

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Student Facing

Are you ready for more?

What quadratic expression can be described as being both standard form and factored form? Explain how you know.

Student Response

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Activity Synthesis

Display the two columns of expressions for all to see. Solicit students’ ideas on the features of each form. Record their responses for all to see. Invite other students to express agreement or disagreement or to clarify their fellow students’ responses.

Define a quadratic expression in standard form explicitly as \(ax^2 + bx + c\). Explain that we refer to \(a\) as the coefficient of the squared term \(x^2\), \(b\) as the coefficient of the linear term \(x\), and \(c\) as the constant term.

Ask students:

  • “How would you write \((2x + 3)x\) in standard form?” (\(2x^2 + 3x\))
  • “The expression \(2x^2 + 3x\) only has two terms. Is it still in standard form?” (Yes, there is no constant term, which means \(c\) is 0.)
  • “How would you write \(\text {-4}(x^2 + \frac14x) +7\) in standard form?” (\(\text {-4}x^2 - x + 7\))
  • “What are the values of the coefficients \(a\) and \(b\)?” (-4 and -1) “What about the constant term?” (7)

Then, clarify that a quadratic expression in factored form is a product of two factors that are each a linear expression. For example, \((x+1)(x-1)\), \((2x + 3)x\), and \(x(4x)\) all have two linear expressions for their factors. An expression with two factors that are linear expressions and a third factor that is a constant, for example: \(2(x+2)(x-1)\), is also in factored form.

Tell students that each form gives us interesting or useful information about the function that the expression represents, and they will learn more about this in future lessons.

Lesson Synthesis

Lesson Synthesis

To help students consolidate the ideas in this lesson, ask questions such as:

  • “What does it mean to expand a factored expression?” (To multiply out all the terms in each factor.)
  • “Show how a diagram can help us expand \((x+4)(x-10)\) and write an equivalent expression.”
  • “How can we expand \((x+4)(x-10)\) using the distributive property and without drawing a diagram?”
  • “How would you explain to a friend who is absent today how to write an equivalent expression for \((x-10)(x-5)\)? What strategy (or strategies) would you suggest?”
  • “Give a few different examples of quadratic expressions in standard form and a few in factored form. Ask a partner if they agree that your examples are indeed in those forms.”

9.4: Cool-down - From One Form to Another (5 minutes)


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Student Lesson Summary

Student Facing

A quadratic function can often be represented by many equivalent expressions. For example, a quadratic function \(f\) might be defined by \(f(x) = x^2 + 3x + 2\). The quadratic expression \(x^2 + 3x + 2\) is called the standard form, the sum of a multiple of \(x^2\) and a linear expression (\(3x+2\) in this case).

In general, standard form is \(\displaystyle ax^2 + bx + c\) 

We refer to \(a\) as the coefficient of the squared term \(x^2\), \(b\) as the coefficient of the linear term \(x\), and \(c\) as the constant term.

The function \(f\) can also be defined by the equivalent expression \((x+2)(x+1)\). When the quadratic expression is a product of two factors where each one is a linear expression, this is called the factored form.

An expression in factored form can be rewritten in standard form by expanding it, which means multiplying out the factors. In a previous lesson we saw how to use a diagram and to apply the distributive property to multiply two linear expressions, such as \((x+3)(x+2)\). We can do the same to expand an expression with a sum and a difference, such as \((x+5)(x-2)\), or to expand an expression with two differences, for example, \((x-4)(x-1)\).

To represent \((x-4)(x-1)\) with a diagram, we can think of subtraction as adding the opposite:

\(x\) \(\text-4\)
\(x\) \(x^2\) \(\text-4x\)
\(\text-1\) \(\text-x\) \(4\)
Diagram showing distributive property.

Video Summary

Student Facing