# Simplifying Rational Expressions: Mafia Edition

When simplifying rational expressions, students always seem to want to simplify TOO much (and incorrectly) !! Below are a few common”over simplifications” that I’ve seen.

This is where #lifelessonswithFinney kicked in. We started talking about the Mafia. Yes, the Mafia. Not only were we talking about the Mafia, but we were talking about killing off family members of the Mafia.

The polynomial is our numerator is a family. The Mafia Family. The denominator is our hitman.

I asked my students what they thought would happen if they tried to kill only one member but not the rest of the family.

“We’d be in trouble!!!! They’d come after us!!!!!!!!!”

Exactly. So we if we want to kill off one member of the family then we have to kill them all! This is the only way that you’d make it out alive! If you can’t kill them all then it is fully simplified. Killing doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it completely. However, you must “hit” every member of the family.