Education Technology

What is an Exponent?

Activity Overview

Why are exponents useful and how do they behave?

An exponent indicates how many times the base to which it refers is a factor; i.e., in , the 4 indicates that the base, 3, is used as a factor four times. This lesson focuses on how the definition can be used in a variety of situations to make sense of the computations: , ,  and in particular, allows students to investigate whether exponents “distribute” over operations other than multiplication.