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A shortcut students religiously use to expand algebraic expressions, when they could reasonably apply the distributive property twice: (a + b)(c + d) = (a + b)c + (a + b)d = ac + bc + ad + bd.
Most middle-school students simply learn the FOIL method by rote, without asking why the steps are carried out in this way.
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by MathPlus February 20, 2017
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