I love my lesson on introducing negative and zero exponents now that I added in the visuals. Check out the lesson here. I also like the lesson I do after where I use smudge math to get them to think about what the exponents should be. BUT, I have come to realize that I need a lesson between the two. My students need more time to work with negative and zero exponents, to play with the patterns, to really get a feel for how the exponents work. I haven't done the lesson with them yet, but following is my plan.
I am guessing that if you are reading this you are a middle or high school math teacher. Before I share my lesson with you, I want to share a lesson from the primary classroom that inspired me.
While scrolling through Twitter, I have come across the fun activities that others have shared of puzzles from the hundreds chart where students have to fill in missing numbers in scattered places of the chart. I love how the activity increases the thinking and adds some play to the learning of the numbers from 1 to 100.
Depending on where we left off the day before, this lesson may begin with consolidating from the intro lesson. Also, it may need to include talking about what to put in the meaningful notes (this is something I don't normally do, but it will give me a good idea of what they did and didn't learn from the day before).
Ultimately I want the students to become familiar with this chart, with how it moves horizontally and vertically. One extension at this point could be to ask them to continue the rows and columns (if it can be done).
Some things I have learned from practicing this lesson on groups of teachers:
1) There is more than one way to fill this in. I was going to fix that by putting another clue in a box, but now I like it because it gives me an extension for the groups that finish quicker than others ("what's another way you could have filled this in?")
2) Students will take a long time reconstructing the grid of the puzzle on the whiteboards. You will save a lot of time if you print this off, put it in a plastic sleeve and tape it to the board
I really liked how this lesson went with teacher groups I have practiced it with. There were rich discussions amongst math teachers who are experienced with exponents, so I imagine it will be even more beneficial with students learning about the exponents. I also think I will print several different puzzles and use them as quick tasks at the beginning of the class for continued learning and review.
I teach mathematics for grades 7-12. Teaching mathematics is my passion.