# 5 Ideas for Teaching Exponents

When I taught the properties of exponents in algebra, it was always a breath of fresh air from our other topics. I had taught them about writing equations, solving systems, and there was lots of graphing. When we got to properties of exponents they didn't have to graph and there wasn't as much "writing".

Simplifying exponential expressions is also a fun unit to teach! I love using lots of activities during this unit, instead of homework assignments. Since these types of problems typically don't require lots of work to be shown, if a student makes a mistake they can't always figure out why. If students do lots of activities in class, I can catch mistakes and explain right away.

Check out these ideas and tips for teaching exponents!

Use Puzzles - I have recently developed a new love for puzzle activities.  Students can channel their inner kid and put together a puzzle while working on exponent skills. You can copy them on cardstock and reuse them each year, you can have students cut them out and put them in their interactive notebooks, or you can even have students glue their puzzles together and hang them on the wall! They are an awesome sub day activity because students can work fairly independently and they are self-correcting.  This Properties of Exponents Square Puzzle is a puzzle that can fit in an interactive notebook or can be used as an activity for learning centers.  I like using this Simplifying Exponents Matching Puzzle for students that struggle because they can match the answers.  If you want a more challenging puzzle, this Properties of Exponents with Negative Exponents Tarsia may be just the ticket!

Hang References - Using posters and word walls is a GREAT way to help students remember the properties of exponents.  If students forget one of the rules, everything becomes a mess.  When you hang references, it makes practicing correctly much easier for students.  These Properties of Exponents Posters are quick and easy to print and hang in your classroom.  This Properties of Exponents Mathbook activity is a fun way to have students practice problems and then you can hang them for reference later.  This fun math pennant activity is another great way to display references and student work.  If you want to give students their own reference, this Exponent Rules Bookmark is a great option.

Use Interactive Notebooks - My students strongly prefer their interactive notebooks to taking notes "the regular way".  Having things preprinted helps me ensure they are copying problems correctly. My students love when I give them foldables to organize information. In these Exponents Interactive Notebook Pages, I love the INB page I used that explains the definition of exponents.  This foldable for the Exponent Rules Lesson organizes everything in one spot and even finishes with an exit ticket.  If you need a little more planning, this Exponents Interactive Notebook Unit takes care of everything for you!  I love this Exponent Rules Simplifying Expressions Color by Number for an activity in an interactive notebook.

Clear Up Misconceptions Early - With any topic it's best to clear up misconceptions as early as possible.  In the blog post, Math Misconceptions: Zero and Negative Exponents, there is an awesome explanation about using a table to help students remember the rules about zero and negative exponents. Also, these Tips for Teaching Exponent Rules are a great read.

Let Students Work Together - It's always more fun to work with a partner!  I'm not going to lie, I love when we get to work in groups during inservice.  I like when students "talk math" and they like working together.  Partner worksheets like this Simplifying Exponents Partner Worksheet and any type of stations like this Properties of Exponents Scavenger Hunt are always a hit in my classes.  For something totally different, this Laws of Exponents Battle My Mathship activity is a fun spin on the old game Battleship!  This fun Negative Exponents Number Line Game is another fun way for students to work together.  These Exponent Rules Task Cards would also be a fun way for students to practice together!

If you'd like to see MORE ideas about the properties of exponents, you may want to check out this post with 16 Exponent Rule Activities!

What is your favorite thing to do when you're teaching exponent rules?