Education Technology

Exploring Exponents

Activity Overview

Students will investigate and describe negative and zero exponents on the base. Then, students will apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent expressions.


  • Students will investigate and describe how negative exponents affect positive integer bases.
  • Students will describe the effect of a zero exponent on positive integer bases.
  • Students will apply abstract and quantitative reasoning to determine the numerical value of an integer exponent.
  • Students will understand the structure of integer exponents by demonstrating how they can be rewritten as a series of repeated multiplication or division.


  • exponent
  • base
  • integer

About the Lesson

  • This lesson involves preparing students to understand properties of integer exponents.
  • As a result, students will:
    • Describe how negative exponents affect a positive integer number base.
    • Make and test conjectures about the effect of having a zero or negative integer exponent on a positive integer base, based upon the examples observed.
    • Use patterns from their numerical observations to support their rationale of the effect of zero and negative exponents on positive integer bases.