Wednesday, February 11, 2009

QN: Scientific Notation

I haven't written on this blog in months, but then, I haven't done a LOT of things in months!

I'm thinking that I can use this as a place to store "Quick Notes", because I have tons of ideas right after a lesson but little time to put them into effect. So, for myself next year, here are ideas about teaching scientific notation:

(Note: This is both a HOW (process) and WHY (concept) lesson.

Scaffolding: I'm thinking that a worksheet with several examples of the most basic things will start things off right.

Identifying Decimal:

Notes: A decimal point on a whole number is _______ (at the end).


A section full of numbers (both whole and with decimals) and then kids have to identify where the decimal is by circling it. That way ALL the kids are forced to see that whole numbers have an "invisible decimal" at the end. So it could be examples like 600 and 45.6 and 0.04 and they would have to change 600 to 600. and then circle the decimal.

Identifying Scientific Notation:

Notes: Scientific Notation has a single 1-9 in front of the decimal, and then a "times ten to the ____" at the end.


Have a bunch of numbers in exponential form (plus some others) and have then identify which ones are already in scientific notation. Put MANY examples with 0 at the beginning. For example: 6.5x10^2, 87x10^3, 0.5x10^2 (and only the first one has a single 1-9 before the decimal).

Have them circle all the numbers in correct scientific notation, and point out that 0.anything is NOT correct. Also include examples of 10^0

Only AFTER that, start practice on changing scientific notation to decimals. Positive = bigger and negative = smaller was, thankfully, easy for them to grasp and I didn't see many kids this year resisting thinking and saying "I've already memorized LEFT and RIGHT rules!".

Then, use the do-and-undo method. Maybe first a short activity about things like "what's another way of saying 3 feet forward? 3 feet forward and 1 foot forward and 1 foot backwards."

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