Week three was busy with tests and exponents for both Math 8 and Algebra 1. Explanations of exponents just can’t be done without students seeking out the patterns of numbers, esp how powers of ten grow and decrease and also powers of 2. In our interactive notebooks, we took notes listing our patterns. We watched the Powers of 10 by Charles and Ray Eames…an oldie but a goody. Stopping half way to discuss positive exponents and the next day discussing negative exponents. Then we jumped into scientific notation as well.
So yesterday, the students walked into Beethoven’s 5th playing in the class. We reviewed our patterns of exponents, and then went into discussing powers of 2. Remember we had discussed Raja Rice a while back listing powers of 2 (positive). So we went the other direction discussing the negative exponents and their values. And then I mention how much I wish the orchestra and band teachers could rewrite the musical notes using exponents. (with a wink of course). We look at the first couple measures of Beethoven’s 5th and discuss how the exponents apply to the beats of the notes (changed it to 4/4 time to make more sense). (insert picture here) At the end of the class, I continued the masterpiece as they worked on their assignment…. no one mentioned the music… I may try a little Vivaldi next week. 🙂
Can’t forget that we also discovered “Anything to the power of zero is 1” again by using patterns. I keep asking the cheerleaders to cheer CMS and holding up their hand as a zero.. “CMS to the zero power! We’re number 1!”…. And I expect those football players to raise their arm and make a 0 with their hand after scoring a touchdown!… no one’s taken me up on that yet… (wink wink).
If there’s anything I’ve worked at this so far is wait time, and asking the students to talk to their “shoulder partner” prior to giving out an answer. I LOVE it! Let those proverbial crickets chirp while their thinking… there’s more going on than just silence after a question.