One of the most common ways to get across the idea of exponents is through squares and cubes. Probably every Math textbook and piece of software has images of squares and cubes to illustrate the second and third powers.
But if we agree that children learn Math by encountering it in reality – in three dimensions – why not have them build their own models? And why stop at the third power?
This lesson aligns the mathematical concept with physical reality extremely clearly. Students build models of powers of 2, 3, and 4 with cubes and record the equations those models embody. That’s all there is to it.
Students then practice writing exponential numbers in standard form, as expressions, and in words given one of those forms.
Common Core Standards:
5.NBT.2: “…Use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10.”
6.EE.1: “Read, write, and evaluate expressions involving whole-number exponents.”
Duration: 2 – 3 days
A Smart Notebook 10 file is included. Click on the .zip icon and you can open both the PDF and Notebook files separately.