To kick off our review of exponent rules, we played an exponent rules review game that I found on Nathan Kraft’s blog. Without telling the students what we were doing, I told them all to go write their name on the dry erase board and draw four x’s below. First hour, one of my students raises their hand and asks, “Couldn’t we have just written x to the fourth power below our names?” I almost died of happiness in that moment. I guess my continual emphasis that x squared means x times x and x cubed means x times x times x has paid off!
I put a problem on the board. I gave students 30 seconds or so to solve it. They held up their individual dry erase boards with their answers. The students who got it right got to go and erase an x from under someone’s name. On the Smart Board, I demonstrated how to write out the powers in the problems as multiplication to derive the answer. We repeated this process. Slowly, we worked through almost all of the types of exponent problems. Yes, there were some complainers. “But, you’ve never showed us how to work out a problem that looks like this. This isn’t fair!” To this, I told them to try their best. I believed in them!
When a student ran out of x’s, that student became a zombie. Zombies could still take others out if they continued to get the problems right. One of my students in third period decided from the very beginning that he wanted to be a zombie. He was practically begging people to erase his x’s. When no one would, he started erasing his own x’s.
I called this “The Game of Grudge,” and my students loved it. It sparked so many amazing conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Could we have a negative exponent? Could we have an exponent on our exponent? Could you raise pi to a power? Could you raise pi to the power of pi?
The next day, students wanted to know if we would be playing the game again. They were quite devastated when I told them we would be taking notes. I blogged about my exponent rule notes here. We also did an exponent rules card sort/karuta game.
More Activities for Teaching Exponent Rules
- 9 Fun Exponent Rules Activities
- Exponent Rules Match-Up Activity
- Exponent Rules Review Game with ACT Questions and Distractors
- Mmm Exponent Task and Card Sort Activity
- Negatives and Exponents Graphic Organizer
- Exponent Rules Notes
- Exponent Rules Card Sort Activity and Karuta Game
- Exponent Rules Review Game – The Game of Grudge
- Foldable Book of Exponent Rules
- Exponent Foldable