How many pounds does an ant weigh? As you can imagine, not very many. In fact, much less than one pound and more like .000004 pounds. Now can you imagine the weight of a knat? Wow…it would be pretty small and have a lot of decimal places. How can we make these really small numbers easier to write and work with? Write them in scientific notation!
In Introduction to Scientific Notation students will encounter very large and very small numbers written in standard form throughout this activity in a variety of situations. They will learn and practice how to rewrite these numbers in scientific notation and see how it is easier to work with numbers in this form. Students will explore how scientific notation is used in the real world by weighing hummingbirds and butterflies as well as comparing the populations of various countries. This activity is guaranteed to make you 5 x 10^10000 times smarter. (This may be an exaggeration.)