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.

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- Post author By mpershan
- Post date March 6, 2013
- 5 Comments on Another awesome Distributive Property mistake

## 5 replies on “Another awesome Distributive Property mistake”

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.

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!