Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Zero as an Exponent

Today we were discussing exponents in math. One of the problems had "0" as an exponent, and the book didn't explain why the answer was "1." After thinking about it, I realized I didn't know "why" it was "1", either. I just knew that was a rule! So, I started looking for an explanation on the internet.

I came across Maria Miller's video on her Homeschool Math Blog. She used patterns to explain why any number with 0 as an exponent is 1. (I like how she said that many books just "announce" that fact with no explanation. She calls it "announced mathematics.")

Basically, you can understand why a number with zero as an exponent is 1 by looking at the pattern. If you look at the pattern, you see you are dividing by 10 for each step. So, when you get to the last step, you get an answer of 1. So, 10 to the 0 power is 10 divided by 10, or 1. I think the photo explains it better than my explanation. Anyway, you can try it with any number as a base and you always would find that any number with an exponent of 0 is equal to 1.


ilovemy5kids said...

I love understanding math concepts! So many are just memorized without knowing "why".

I need facts like these!


Actually, we used to live in the area but have moved. But, we still come to visit. :)

Blessings to you,

Robin said...

Excellent! Yes, I've had it announced to me before and just took it as fact. I, too, like to know the 'why' and not just the answer.

Michellel said...

Interesting! I learn something new every day!

We use Math U See and one of the main things Steve Demme (Founder) says is that he likes to teach the "why" of math, not just the rules.

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