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Exponents - What are they?

Exponents are another way of writing multiplication. They make it a lot less to look at when the same number needs to be multiplied by itself multiple times. For example, if you wanted to multiple 2 by itself 3 times, it would look like this: 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. However, with exponents, this is reduced down to: 2³ = 8. The 2 is called the "base" and the 3 is the "exponent."
Note: Because many programs are unable to display the little 3 on top of the two, another way of writing exponents uses the ^ symbol. 2³ is the same as 2^3.

Numbers to the 2nd power are called "squared" (2² is "two squared" or "two to the second." 2^8 is said to be "two to the eighth.") Numbers raised to the 3rd power are called "cubed."

A couple of things to remember:

1. Any number (except 0) raised to the 0 power, is equal to 1. That is, 4¹ = 4.

2. Any number raised to the 1 power is equal to the number itself. 4^0 = 0.

3. The exponent only applies to what it is directly attached to! For example, 4x² is: 4(x)(x) and not (4x)(4x). If we wanted (4x)(4x), it would be written as: (4x)²!

 

That was a brief introduction to exponents. Next, learn to Calculate Exponents!

Find another math lesson at the Math Lesson and Tutorial Center!

 

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