Friday, January 24, 2014

Powers of Ten: Powerful Teaching Resources

News Alert!
Check out my just-released SCOOT game that supports students as they practice multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals by 10 and 100. You'll find it on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook!

To commence our decimal unit, we looked at the powers of ten and more specifically:
  • CCSS.Math.Content.5.NBT.A.1 Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents in the place to its left.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.5.NBT.A.2 Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10. Use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10.
Early on, we examined The Great Wall of Base Ten (from a lesson in The Math Learning Center's Bridges Curriculum):

On the far right of the picture, you see a unit (1cm x 1cm). What you can't see (and what the kids had to envision and then make) is what happens to the right of the unit. They cut out a tenth and a hundredth and discussed what happens to the number when you move each direction across The Great Wall of Base Ten.

Whenever possible, I like to share books and videos that reinforce or expound on our studies. Here are several favorites. (If you're in my class, watch the videos below!!) :)

Books: Powers of Ten
Ten Times Better by Richard Michelson - an excellent introduction to the topic, this book illustrates 10 times the numbers 1-10.

 On Beyond a Million by David Schwartz - illustrates the powers of ten.
 Big Numbers and Pictures That Show Just How Big They Are by Edward Packard - look for this out-of-print book at your library that also illustrates the powers of ten.

 Can You Count to a Googol? by Robert E. Wells - Before we even began reading, my students connected the name "Googol" with the search engine. After we finished reading--and they learned the definition of "googol"--they had a pretty good guess about why it was given that name! (Also illustrates the powers of ten...all the way to a googol!)

Videos: Powers of Ten

Secret Worlds: The Universe Within
- From the site: "View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons." After watching the presentation, you can manually zoom in and out, watching the powers of ten increase & decrease.

Powers of Ten - From YouTube: "Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell. POWERS OF TEN © 1977 EAMES OFFICE LLC (Available at"


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