A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Investigating Scientific Notation

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 | 2 Comments

I’ve been trying to increase my use of the laptops with Year 9.

With our current topic, Scientific Notation, I’ve used:

  • two simple games from XPMath, one for large numbers and the other for small numbers. Great for consolidation, and a bit of competition.
  • like last year, I used Universcale, but this year, they could play on their laptops, rather than just looking at the screen.

Source: Pre-steamed long rice Copyright © 2007 David Monniaux

One activity that went down well today, was an investigation of some real objects using Wolfram Alpha. The attached worksheet formed the basis of the investigation looking at the mass of a grain of rice, the diameter of the earth, the speed of light and the distance to Proxima Centauri (the star closest to earth).

Whilst the conversions can be done in Wolfram Alpha, we also saw that Google can do conversions like convert 65mg to kg.

For this lower level class, the activity gave a good sense of reality to an otherwise non-concrete topic.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (?).

Posted in • Lesson IdeaScientific NotationPrintableWorksheetTechnologyDigital Education RevolutionLaptops 4 LearningWebsiteWolfram Alpha | Short URL:


Liz on  23 June 10  at  01:06 PM #
Thanks for this one Simon - I used it with my year 9's this week we have just finished scientific notation and it was a great way to use their laptops and wrap up the topic.


Simon Job on  24 June 10  at  08:13 AM #
Great feedback Liz, thanks for letting me know that it worked in your classroom too.

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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