Replace FOIL with Conceptual Understanding

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In this video, Dr. Andrew Chen explains why math educators should replace the “one trick pony” FOIL method with a conceptual instruction that students can apply in multiple situations.

Dr. Chen describes:

  • Why the traditional FOIL method most of us learned doesn’t work anymore
  • How to lead students through a “scenic route” that helps students understand why a problem-solving approach works
  • What it means to teach in ways that are ‘reusable’

Watch the Video


Dr. Andrew Chen, who holds a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University, is the president of EduTron. He served on the Common Core Standards Development Team in Mathematics and provides high-quality professional development Intensive Immersion Institutes (I3) in mathematics and science to teachers at all levels. In another video, he explains why math teachers should teach like a Jedi and the importance of understanding content from previous grades.

Ask Yourself

“Am I teaching students mathematics through conceptual understanding?”

Find Additional Resources

Looking for more help with your math instruction? Browse through our collection of content guides and get a better understanding of what the standards really mean for your curriculum and instruction.