Khan Academy's Algebra 1 content might best be used to help kids check their understanding once you've already covered a topic in class. The quizzes at the end of each tutorial can be used for homework or as an in-class formative assessment. Kids can use the Missions to reinforce foundational skills or work ahead. However, take note: Some of the instructional videos here are a bit slow-paced. Kids could get bored or distracted as Sal backtracks, reorganizing the way he writes FOIL, or during his discussion of why he doesn't like this method. As a comparison, Virtual Nerd's tutorial on FOIL covers the same topic much more succinctly. That said, Khan teaches the concept correctly, presenting the distributive property as an alternative to this method. It would just be better if it were clearer and more precise.
On the flip side, the fact that Sal takes time to emphasize the nature of mathematics is a great benefit. For example, the video "Descartes and Cartesian coordinates" highlights the importance of persevering through math problems; this would be an excellent video to watch and discuss as a whole class. For another cool activity, in “Understanding the process for solving quadratic equations,” kids are asked to look for flaws in a sample student’s work. This kind of exercise can help students become more metacognitive about their own mathematical processes.
- Descartes and Cartesian coordinates – This video highlights Descartes and his impact on algebra and geometry.
- FOIL for multiplying binomials – Kids watch a video where Sal explains how to do the FOIL method and presents an alternative.
- Understanding the process for solving quadratic equations – Students answer multiple-choice questions; hints and videos help if they get stuck.
Key Standards Supported
Arithmetic With Polynomials And Rational Expressions
Understand that polynomials form a system analogous to the integers, namely, they are closed under the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication; add, subtract, and multiply polynomials.
Rewrite simple rational expressions in different forms; write a(x)/b(x) in the form q(x) + r(x)/b(x), where a(x), b(x), q(x), and r(x) are polynomials with the degree of r(x) less than the degree of b(x), using inspection, long division, or, for the more complicated examples, a computer algebra system.
(+) Understand that rational expressions form a system analogous to the rational numbers, closed under addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by a nonzero rational expression; add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational expressions.
Know and apply the Remainder Theorem: For a polynomial p(x) and a number a, the remainder on division by x – a is p(a), so p(a) = 0 if and only if (x – a) is a factor of p(x).
Identify zeros of polynomials when suitable factorizations are available, and use the zeros to construct a rough graph of the function defined by the polynomial.
Prove polynomial identities and use them to describe numerical relationships. For example, the polynomial identity (x2 + y2)2 = (x2 – y2)2 + (2xy)2 can be used to generate Pythagorean triples.
(+) Know and apply the Binomial Theorem for the expansion of (x + y)n in powers of x and y for a positive integer n, where x and y are any numbers, with coefficients determined for example by Pascal’s Triangle.1
Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
Represent constraints by equations or inequalities, and by systems of equations and/or inequalities, and interpret solutions as viable or non- viable options in a modeling context. For example, represent inequalities describing nutritional and cost constraints on combinations of different foods.
Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.
Reasoning With Equations And Inequalities
Understand that the graph of an equation in two variables is the set of all its solutions plotted in the coordinate plane, often forming a curve (which could be a line).
Explain why the x-coordinates of the points where the graphs of the equations y = f(x) and y = g(x) intersect are the solutions of the equation f(x) = g(x); find the solutions approximately, e.g., using technology to graph the functions, make tables of values, or find successive approximations. Include cases where f(x) and/or g(x) are linear, polynomial, rational, absolute value, exponential, and logarithmic functions.★
Graph the solutions to a linear inequality in two variables as a half- plane (excluding the boundary in the case of a strict inequality), and graph the solution set to a system of linear inequalities in two variables as the intersection of the corresponding half-planes.
Solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, including equations with coefficients represented by letters.
Solve quadratic equations in one variable.
Use the method of completing the square to transform any quadratic equation in x into an equation of the form (x – p)2 = q that has the same solutions. Derive the quadratic formula from this form.
Solve quadratic equations by inspection (e.g., for x2 = 49), taking square roots, completing the square, the quadratic formula and factoring, as appropriate to the initial form of the equation. Recognize when the quadratic formula gives complex solutions and write them as a ± bi for real numbers a and b.
Prove that, given a system of two equations in two variables, replacing one equation by the sum of that equation and a multiple of the other produces a system with the same solutions.
Solve systems of linear equations exactly and approximately (e.g., with graphs), focusing on pairs of linear equations in two variables.
Solve a simple system consisting of a linear equation and a quadratic equation in two variables algebraically and graphically. For example, find the points of intersection between the line y = –3x and the circle x2 + y2 = 3.
(+) Represent a system of linear equations as a single matrix equation in a vector variable.
(+) Find the inverse of a matrix if it exists and use it to solve systems of linear equations (using technology for matrices of dimension 3 × 3 or greater).
Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.
Solve simple rational and radical equations in one variable, and give examples showing how extraneous solutions may arise.
Seeing Structure In Expressions
Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context.
Use the structure of an expression to identify ways to rewrite it. For example, see x4 – y4 as (x2)2 – (y2)2, thus recognizing it as a difference of squares that can be factored as (x2 – y2)(x2 + y2).
Choose and produce an equivalent form of an expression to reveal and explain properties of the quantity represented by the expression.★
Factor a quadratic expression to reveal the zeros of the function it defines.
Complete the square in a quadratic expression to reveal the maximum or minimum value of the function it defines.
Derive the formula for the sum of a finite geometric series (when the common ratio is not 1), and use the formula to solve problems. For example, calculate mortgage payments.★