In a previous post I was sharing my ideas for teaching squares, square roots and cube numbers, now I want to consider Powers and Scientific Notation.

The concept of powers should lead on nicely from squares and cubes. I am interested to see the different ways my students come up with to calculate a power such as 3^4.

I am thinking of using Add ‘Em Up as a way to practice. This is something that I saw on Sara Van Der Werf’s blog. Each group will be given 4 questions, they each answer one individually then add up all 4 scores. I only check the total, if it is correct the group will get an extra question and if incorrect they will have to work together to find the errors. I have used this previously with gradients, solving equations and integration and I have found it an excellent tool for spotting errors and working together.

For Scientific Notation, I will definitely be using real life examples of large and small numbers such as the mass of the Earth is 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg and the mass of a neutron 0.000000000000000000000000001675 kg. Once my students have learned about changing numbers in and out of Scientific Notation they will complete this task from Mathematics Assessment Project website. I love this task as it relates Scientific Notation to actual measurements and looks at the connection between numbers. It also allows students to estimate lengths of everyday objects, convert between normal form and scientific notation and make comparisons of the size of numbers expressed in both normal form and scientific notation.

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I wonder how this might tie in with Number Talks. It would be interesting to see the different ways that kids tackle 3^4 or even 4^4. Would they develop the idea of (3^2)^2 and the power rules?

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