Math = Love: Scientific Notation INB Pages

Friday, September 2, 2016

Scientific Notation INB Pages

Back to school has been pure craziness.  I feel like I'm starting to get into the groove of things, but I'm definitely grateful that we have a three day weekend coming up pronto!

These scientific notation notes were created for my physical science class that I am teaching this year.  This is my first time ever teaching scientific notation since it is a middle school math standard in Oklahoma.

We started with a discussion of why scientific notation is useful and what it looks like.

Then, we completed a foldable on converting to and from scientific notation.

Here's what the inside looks like:

Ignore the shiny tape.  I got a bit excited and accidentally ripped my foldable!

I really tried to set this up in such a way that my students needed to think about what the exponent on the 10 meant instead of just memorizing whether they should move the decimal to the left or right.

After doing a few in-class activities that I'll put in another blog post, we did two activities in our notebook to practice our scientific notation skills.

The first one was a ranking problem from the MARS Size It Up lesson.  (I didn't use the lesson - just the chart from page 13).

Our final notebook activity was the Giantburgers task.  My physical science found this task to be tricky because they really struggled to wrap their mind around what percent means.  I guess it's a good thing their teacher has a math degree.  ;)

I've uploaded the files for this lesson here.


  1. First let me say, I love your blog and use your ideas all the time. But, I just had to point out an error in your interactive notes. I'm sorry for being picky, but as a math and science person I couldn't help notice the error on the "What does scientific notation look like?" page. The description for the coefficient should read "number must be greater than or equal to 1 and less than 10". I don't want anyone to be confused.

    1. Thanks for catching my error! You are absolute right!

    2. Obviously I can't proofread my notes or my comment. I meant "absolutely"!

  2. Sarah,
    I love your blog and your willingness to share your resources!
    When I teach scientific notation, I find that kids get confused as to when they move the decimal to the left or right (probability because the direction changes if you go from standard form to scientific and vise versa). To help them get a better handle on this I appealed to "logic". I tell them that a POSITIVE exponent yields a BIG number and a NEGATIVE exponent yields a SMALL number. I try to get them thinking that a BIG number is greater than one and a SMALL number is between 0 and 1. This way they are not memorizing left/right, simply big/small. The direction to move the decimal becomes somewhat logical ... as long as the examples use correct scientific notation.