Education Technology

Middle Grades Math: Exploring Exponents

by Texas Instruments


  • 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.