Laws of Exponents - Negative and Zero Powers Continued

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Understanding negative and zero exponents are two of the hardest concepts for students to grasp. By applying students' skills with patterns it becomes easier for students to see the big picture and make better connections.

Big Idea

Memorization is short term knowledge but understanding endures time.  Create the rules for exponents by expanding the bases to understand. 

Bellringer (Warm-up)

5 minutes

The only warm-up directions today are, "Log in to and be ready to discuss."  The goal today is to wrap up this lesson so you will need all time spent on the activity.  In my school, we have laptop carts for each team of students.  I have students get a laptop and log-in to then shut the lid until I am ready for them to type.  Between each Edmodo discussion question I ask students to close the lid of their computers so they are not distracted.  If you are using desktop computers, you could ask students to turn around and face away from the computer monitor.  Students have little self control when computers are involved.


Edmodo Preview

Beginning the Activity - Continued from Previous Class Period

40 minutes

Clarifying your learning goals before beginning a lesson is very important.  To watch a short video about clarifying learning intentions and criteria for success click on the Clarifying and Sharing Learning Intentions and Criteria for Success.


Clarify for students that today is focused on extending their current understanding of exponents to include how to use negative exponents and to learn what happens when a number is taken to the zero power.  (write an example on the board to clarify).  Tell students that by the end of the class period, they will have a short-cut or rule for using negative exponents and the zero exponent much faster than needing a table.   


I like to have Edmodo open on my Enoboard (Projector screen) to review the discussions from the previous day.  I scroll through and read aloud any statements from the previous day that I liked or gave a badge.  Then, we review the question asked in number six and I allow collaborative groups two minutes to discuss their individual answers to this question, especially if the question was answered as homework.  Then I allow three minutes of computer time to post their best discussions for questions six and seven.  As students are making posts, I am monitoring their discussions from my desktop if possible as it is easier to read than my app with so much constant activity.  I begin marking really good statements with a badge or like it as i am monitoring their work.

After students post comments for questions seven, ask them to close the computer lid or turn away from the monitor and look at the projector board.  Show the entire class some of the favorite comments you gave a badge and hold a whole class mini-wrap-up over the posts to question seven.  All of the compuper posting today is vital information that students must understand as theses questions are the big ideas of the entire lesson.  You need to highlight these ideas in group discussio to ensure students understand the information and write good information on their activity papers as notes.  I did not hold these wrap-up sessions when I used this activity and it was a mistake.  

Allow students about eight to ten minutes to answer all of the Edmodo discussion questions within their collaborative groups (questions 8, 9, and 10) so they are prepared to make thoughtful posts to Edmodo once they are allowed back on the computers.  Again, move about the room providing feedback and listening to conversations as formative assessment.  Allow students back on the computers to post about each question separately (three minutes to post question 9 and another three minutes to post question 10) with a timer of three minutes to discuss and read for each question.  

Strategy Videos

Providing Feedback that Moves Learning Forward

Collaborative Groups Explained


Students as Resources for One Another

Students as Owners of Their Own Learning 

Closing the Lesson

10 minutes

Hold a formal mini wrap up with the whole class by highlighting on your projector board the best comments posted to Edmodo.  Be sure to reward these comments with a badge or "Like It" status.  Use your unit orgainzer to consolidate student thinking into formulated rules for using negative and zero exponents. 


Homework: Assign the exponents practice page for homework tonight


Math Practice Standards

Collaboratively grouping students to become resources for one another in working through the activity to show ownership of learning brings in math practice standard one.

MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Applying the strategy of mini-wrap ups that are student centered will directly bring math practice standard 3 into the lesson.  

MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of 

Asking students to speak using correct vocabulary to explain their thinking applies math practice standard 6.

MP6 Attend to precision. 

Asking students to use tables in order to find a pattern and extend the table through using the pattern applies math practice standard seven.  Askig students to use the pattern of change to create a short-cut or rule for expressing the pattern algebraically asks students to apply math practice standard eight.

MP7 Look for and make use of structure.

MP8 Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.