Aligned to CCSS 5.NBT.2
This discovery activity is a perfect way to have students explore powers of 10 on their own and with a group before the actual lesson begins. By performing calculations, recording data, and analyzing that data, students make sense of powers of 10.
The activity requires students to use a calculator to multiply a number by 10 several times, recording successive products. Then, students are asked to discuss in a group what they observed when they multiplied by 10 each time. Students do this for both a whole number and a decimal number.
Students complete thinking questions that have them analyze and evaluate their recorded data with emphasis on the pattern of zeros, as well as decimal placement.
The next section is identical to the first, but is focused on dividing by 10. Students repeat the same procedure and answer thinking questions related to dividing by powers of 10.
I have personally used this activity for three years, and it made a world of difference in student understanding and mastery.