Eight Squared

What are Exponents

Eight Squared
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"What are Exponents"
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Exponents are simply a more organized was to write multiplication. Exponents are written as a variable in the top right corner above another variable. The terms we use to describe these terms are “Power” (Top part); and “Base” (Bottom part). In computer notation they may also be written with a caret symbol ^ due to lack of a high quality display. In this notation you would have the (Base)^(Power). Now that we have a basic way to describe an exponent let’s look at some examples.

8*8 = 8^2
In exponent notation this would be expressed as 8^2. This is because it is 8 times itself two times. So we take our base (8) and raise it to the 2nd power. Some may think what is the point of writing out 8^2 when 8*8 is just as easy to write. This is because in some circumstances our multiplication will not be so simple and we need a very precise and thorough way to describe it. For example if we had 8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8 this would be really daunting to write over and over again and it is much easier to write 8^10; because it is simply 8 times itself ten times.

5*2*5*3*2*8*5 = 5^3*2^2*3*8

This is a little more of a challenge but just like before we will take groups of the same number and raise the base number to a power that is equal to the number of times it is multiplied. From above we can see that we are multiplying 5 three times; 2 two times; 3 once; and 8 once. This means we will raise our bases to their respective powers while multiplying all of the bases together.


In any mathematics past algebra, one may find that not always are the bases and exponents numbers. We may see equations that have x^2; or 3^x ; or even (x-6)^(2+x). These may seem much more complicated than our previous problems but if we remember how exponents work we can simply think of them in a less ‘scary’ form like x*x; 3 times itself x amount of times; or (x-6) times itself (2+x) amount of times. Exponents are just useful ways to describe things and make multiplication work easier for us by hand and by calculator. Exponents even open up a world of rules and laws that even further build more advanced mathematical theories; but for now just consider them as a useful tool to help you do your multiplication.

More about this author: Ludovic Harold Tesla

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