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# What do powers mean, again?

Would the student have made this mistake if she were just given $a^2$ to evaluate? If yes, then what’s the misconception. If no, then what’s going on?

Oh, and go check out Chris Robinson’s stuff, and go follow him on twitter.

## 3 replies on “What do powers mean, again?”

What’s interesting to me is that the student had no problem evaluating 5^3, so I’m chalking this up to a lack of attention to precision.

Jonathansays:

I agree, it is odd that 8^3 seemed to pose no problem but 5^2 did. It is probably due to attention, but might be a “visualisation” misconception: when visualising “five squared” we see “two fives” which are “ten”? Or perhaps I’m looking just a little too hard 🙂

I agree with absolutevalueofteaching that this is a lack of attention to precision. When the student got to 5^3, s/he had to pay attention because s/he could see the + and the a x b coming up ahead down the road.