Simplifying Power to a Power

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SWBAT simplify exponent expressions raised to a power.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will discover how to simplify expressions when a power is raised to another power.


8 minutes

This Warm Up contains a variety of exponent equations that require students to use previously learned rules to simplify. As students work, I move about the room making notes on my observation clipboard of any student who appears to be struggling with any of the concepts. I find students struggle most with the concept of rewriting a variable raised to a negative exponents, so I spend extra time on this problem once the timer sounds.

Discovering the Rule: Power Raised to a Power

5 minutes

After Warm-Up, I explain that we have one more exponent rule to learn:  Power raised to a power.  I show the students four examples and ask them to talk at their tables about what they notice and what rule we might use to describe what is happening.  After about 30 seconds, I ask for volunteers to share what they have noticed. I then ask students to write a rule in their exponents foldable on the power to a power tab.

Let's Practice!

9 minutes

I provide six expressions for students to practice simplifying during Let's Practice. After verifying student understanding with a learning scale (5= I can teach someone else the concept; 4= I fully understanding the concept; 3=I am starting to understand the concept; 2 = I understand the concept a little; 1= I don't understand the concept at all), I congratulate the students on learning the rules of exponents.

Let's Play: Mission Impossible Exponents Edition

15 minutes

To provide additional practice with all the rules of exponents learned, I prepare a game called, "Mission Impossible" for Let's Play. For this game, I have 10 Pringles cans that I have covered with black and white contact paper.  I number the lids of each, 1-10, and put a corresponding numbered problem inside each one. Students number a page in their journal from 1-10 to record their answers.

I tell students to select a "runner" who will be responsible for grabbing a can and bringing it back to their table. I explain that the problems do not need to be solved in numeric order and the goal is to be the first group finished with all ten problems correctly simplified. The runner will bring his/her table's answers to me for verification.  If any problems are incorrect, I send the student back to the group to correct it. All students must record the problems in their journal for their daily grade which holds them accountable to the work.

Ticket Out the Door

7 minutes

To bring closure to the day's lesson and to help students consolidate their understanding of exponent rules, I provide each student a lined note card on which to answer the following prompt: What is the difference between the multiplying exponents rule and the power raised to a power rule? Write in words and use examples to explain.

I circulate, clarifying directions and misconceptions as needed and redirecting any student who is not responding to the prompt. When the timer sounds, students give me their cards on the way as their Ticket Out the Door.