I tried this in my Prealgebra class when we were studying scientific notation to help them understand the value of scientific notation. I opened the discussion with this slide to see if any of them made a connection with the lesson.

I used that slide as a transition into the activity and I was surprised what happened next. Here is the slide I showed next.

3 things came out of this:

1. (as expected) Some of the students used the expanded form to find each of the distances and then put them in order, this was good.

2. (as expected) Some of the students put the numbers in order by the first number, paying no attention to the place values or powers of 10.

3. (as hoped) A couple of students put the values in order based upon the power of 10. This was awesome.

Our class discussion went like this:

1. I asked for volunteers to share their methods. They wrote out their order on the board.

2. I had subsequent volunteers explain their methods, writing out their order on the board as well.

3. We discussed the differences and compared the two correct methods. Ooo’s and Ahh’s ensued, it was sweet.

No worksheet necessary.

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