Today for Mathemagic Monday I would love to share some ideas for teaching exponent rules – both positive and negative.
Stop by to check out Mathemagic Monday #1: Angle Relationships
1 – Build Meaning First
Starting by writing out the meaning of x3 as xxx can help students visualize what they are trying to accomplish. I use the mantra “When in doubt, write it out!” My introductory lesson can be found here.
2 – Use Relatable Terms
When introducing negative exponents, I use an anecdotal approach. I describe the variables with negative exponents as “sad” and positive exponents as “happy.” Relocating when sad, will make you happy! (But make sure to leave the happy factors where they are!)
3 – Hands-On Practice
I firmly believe that hands-on practice is critical for students to cement concepts. They more they “do,” the more they will learn. Here are a few activities to check out: FREE Negative Exponents Number Line Game, Matching Game and Card Sort, and Old Math Guy Card Game.
4 – Structure Can Help
There are so many different rules that it is important to have students organize them all in one place. Discovery and practice are important, but make sure they have a reference sheet to study!
Join in the conversation! What has working in your classroom?
Thanks for reading!
Mathemagic Monday is a series of blog posts by Free to Discover that highlights some tips and tricks for making math meaningful and fun for kids, focusing on those shortcuts and connections that give us the “aha” moment.