The Orders of magnitude exercise formerly appeared under the Pre-algebra Math Mission. This exercise is almost scientific notation. It introduces some of the groundwork and practices comparing relative size using orders of magnitude.

Types of Problems

There are three types of problems in this exercise:

  1. Estimate the number in scientific notation: This problem provides the measurement of an object. The student is asked to give an estimate of that measurement in a specific form that is effective scientific notation.

    Estimate the number in scientific notation

  2. Compare the sizes: This problem provides two quantities. It asks the student to recognize what the multiple is between them, or what the value of a multiple of one would be.

    Compare the sizes

  3. Expand the number: This problem provides a number and the student is expected to correctly use order of operations to expand the number

    Expand the number


Order of operations is useful for expansion, and although it is not technically scientific notation, that knowledge would be helpful.

  1. The numbers work out nicely in the calculations, so a calculator should be unnecessary and may even be a hindrance.

Real-life applications

  1. An ability to quickly compare orders of magnitude is useful in sciences like astronomy to help put scale on sizes and distances.

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