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Language | English Language |

Social Studies | History Trivia U.S. History |

It’s small and unassuming…but it packs quite a punch.

Also referred to as an “exponent,” a power is a way of abbreviating very large numbers

in order to make them manageable. See that itty-bitty number, up and to the [Arrow points to a 3 exponent]

right of the other number? That guy’s the exponent.

An exponent can take an expression like 5 times 5 times 5 times 5, and express it this way:

We’re multiplying four 5’s together, so our exponent is a 4.

Or, as we might say, we are taking “5 to the fourth power.”

Sometimes you’ll have a bunch more numbers to multiply together than just four of ‘em.

But life’s too precious to waste it multiplying zillions of numbers the long way…hence the shortcut. [Lots of numbers as girl takes shortcut]

What about when the power is 1? Because our exponent is telling us that there

is only one seven, he doesn’t get multiplied by anything else.

So it’s the same as plain ol’ seven. When a power is zero, however, the number

is always equal to one. [Teacher drawing 7 to the power of 0]

Which…really is the loneliest number. We’ve been there. [Man sat waiting at a table]

Moving on…an exponent can also be negative.

In that case, you’ll need to take the reciprocal of the number…[Young boy performs a back flip]

…and then change the exponent to a positive number.

So, for example, if you’ve got 2 to the negative third power…

…it’s the same as the reciprocal of 2… one-half… to the third power.

½ times ½ times ½… is one-eighth.

So, as you can see, they may not look like much, but powers are quite…powerful. [Man working out in a gym]

They can abbreviate many big numbers…

…and they can reduce others to rubble.

Have fun on your power trip. Don't forget to send us a postcard. [People walking with luggage]