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AdministratorOctober 7, 2020 at 6:30 am
You’re so right re: how random it can be. Let’s be honest – we often just show up one day and … BAM! We toss it up on the board.
Something that could be helpful is to start pre-radical in a visual manner. Simplifying with algebra tiles, etc and slowly work your way there.
For example, doing a couple easier problems involving simplifying without radicals … kids get some confidence and then you toss the “what about this one… what do you notice and wonder now?”
It’s like a challenge you’re tossing their way. Sometimes it can be all in how you lead up to it that can affect whether students are interested to poke a stick at it or not…