The same students who have been struggling with all of the above have been rocking our last few lessons on naming polynomials and multiplying polynomials. My current theory is that multiplying polynomials is something they've never been exposed to before. My teaching of exponent rules this year relies on a lot of tricks.

Day 3 - Our last day on exponent rules was spent playing the Karuta game from Dont' Panic, The Answer is 42.

I already had the cards cut and laminated from last year, so this was an easy lesson to implement.

One of the things I am determined that my students will leave my classroom knowing this year is the word "vinculum." It's one of those things that I use on a daily basis that I didn't know the name for until a year or so ago. I teach my students to remember that the vinculum looks like a giant subtraction sign.

You know that bar you put above a repeating decimal? You know that bar you put between the numerator and denominator of a fraction? Thus, we subtract the exponents when dividing powers with like bases.

In a multiplication problem, the arrow points to add, so we add the exponents. I earned a degree in pure mathematics without knowing what the word meant.

In an addition problem, the arrow points to nothing, so we do nothing to the exponents. I've emphasized this word so much this year, my eighth graders found it necessary to correct their science teacher for not referring to the vinculum by its proper name when learning about the density equation. But, I do think it goes to show my students that they shouldn't be scared by new vocab words just because they sound scary.

I think it was a good mix of exploring the reasons behind the rules, memorizing the rules, and having fun.

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On the Smart Board, I demonstrated how to write out the powers in the problems as multiplication to derive the answer. Slowly, we worked through almost all of the types of exponent problems. "But, you've never showed us how to work out a problem that looks like this. One of my students in third period decided from the very beginning that he wanted to be a zombie. They were quite devastated when I told them we would be taking notes.

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