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Sixth-graders Zero in on Scientific Notation

Sixth-graders in Theresa Keller’s math class are learning that there’s a simpler way to write numbers that have a lot of zeroes. Students are studying scientific notation, a simplified way of writing numbers too big or too small to be written in standard form. For example, instead of 53,000,000, a person using scientific notation would write 5.3×107. Keller gave students tips on how to figure out how to write a number in scientific notation. “The commas separating the zeros are a road map,” she told her class. Students also learned how to multiply two numbers written in scientific notation. They then went to the board to demonstrate how to solve a variety of problems using their newly learned numbering system.