Negative Exponent: Why Is a^(-1)=1/a?

Follow a pattern to develop an explanation. An engaging video uses the pattern of positive integer exponents to develop an explanation of the rule for negative powers. Using powers of three, each lower power is the previous one divided by three to explain the rule for a negative power. Afterward, pupils see that the rule holds true when applying the quotient rule.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Challenge learners to confirm that the pattern holds for any number not equal to zero
Classroom Considerations

  • Individuals should be familiar with the quotient property of exponents
  • Class members need to understand that a number to the zero power is one
Pros

  • Includes a chart with the different exponent properties
  • Uses correct mathematical language when talking about simplifying to one
Cons

  • None
Common Core