String Scientific Notation/Metric System Demonstration
After a brief discussion of the metric system and scientific notation, the students will place notecards labeled with various scientific notation (10^1, 10^-1, etc.) on the string/number line.
This activity is designed to help students realize that an increase from 10^2 to 10^3 is really very large! Students will describe not raising 10 to the n+1 power greatly increases the value.
This activity gets students thinking about what a number like 10^24 really means. It puts a value on that number that is hard for students to visualize.
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:K12
Description and Teaching Materials
2. Have student help you hold up string (20 meters)
3. Have notecards pre-made with the following numbers on them. 0, 1, -1, 10^1, 10^2, 10^3, 10^-1, 10^-2. Ask a student to put the 0, 1, and -1 notecards on the line. Make sure all students are in agreement. (I use clothline pins to pin up notecards, tape works too)
4. Ask another student to put the 10^1 notecard on and again check for agreement. Do this for 10^2 and 10^3 as well.
5. NOW ask a student to put on the 10^-1 notecard and check for agreement; this one usually throws them off. If no one figures it out, correct them.
6. Ask the previous student to then put on the 10^-2 notecard on (allow them some confidence)
7. Follow up with a written paragraph from each student with the following questions:
1. What did you learn from this activity? Be specific about what happens as you raise/decrease 10 to another power.
2. How big and how small do you think 10^24 and 10^-24 are? Where do you think it would fall if our string could go as far as you needed it to? Vining? Fergas Falls? Further?