distributive property

We actually have an explanation from the student, and hopefully Alison Royster will be kind enough to jump in on the comments and provide it.

  • Neat, did he think he had to multiply only the constants because they didn’t have variables? Did he understand why this wouldn’t work when you talked about it?

  • Seems the student has applied “only combine like terms” to multiplication as well.

  • Tamara Pearson

    I agree with Chris. Another case of overgeneralization.

  • Another vote for Chris’ interpretation. That’s where my mind went before looking at the comments.

  • Sorry to be so late responding! Somehow I missed this post. You’re all correct — I asked this student about his work, and he said that he multiplied the like terms. What’s especially frustrating is that this was a review problem, within a week or two of extensive work on the distributive property, including using the area model of the distributive property (and linking those to the symbolic representation), and I really thought this student understood the distributive property!