Factoring(2): Factoring the Difference of Squares
1) “Difference” means the result of subtraction.
2) A perfect square is formed by multiplying a term by itself
3) Conjugates are two binomials – one sum, and one difference – that begin and end with the same expression.
HOW TO FACTOR THE DIFFERENCE OF SQUARES:
1) Make sure that the polynomial is, in fact, a difference of squares. (It is not possible to factor a sum of squares!)
2) Determine the square root of the first and last term.
3) Write the binomial factors – these will be conjugates that begin and end with the square roots you found in step #2.
(Note: Because of the commutative property, the order of the factors doesn’t matter)
EXAMPLES WITH EXPLANATIONS: (Click here to enlarge)