Oh man, this is going to be tough for kids. Good mistake. What makes this so hard? Or am I over-estimating its difficulty? Thanks Matt!

# Search: “exponents”

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Good luck, @mpershan pic.twitter.com/ocarfvO6Fg — Matt Vaudrey (@MrVaudrey) September 20, 2013 @MrVaudrey 64 and 8 are strongly associated. When taxed, working memory craps out. So you've got 8 and 3 mushing around. That's my best. — Michael Pershan (@mpershan) September 22, 2013 Thoughts?

Open thread. Go wild! (Thanks to Pam for the submission.)

I just dug this up. It’s what I handed back students after a “pre-quiz” (i.e. a quiz at the end of the unit, but before their quiz). I had forgotten that during that first year I handed back these things with class performance percentages on them. Anyway, the way those percentages break down is […]

## Why kids mess up exponents

I’m trying very hard to get people as excited by exponent mistakes as I am. I just think that they’re really cool and interesting. I gave kids this survey today in class to 9th graders who have never seen negative or rational exponents before, just to see what they’d do. The results did not disappoint. […]

Dip into the archive and check out our other exponent mistakes. What do you notice? Thanks to Julie for the submission!

I think the temptation I have is to call this a “careless” mistake and urge more practice. Let’s probe deeper. 1. What does this kid know and understand about exponents? 2. What’s the fastest way to help? 3. What makes this mistake so tempting? Thanks to Sadie Estrella for the awesome addition to our ever-mounting […]

What makes this mistake so common? Thanks to Cathy Campbell for the student work!

How would you help this kid out? Thanks to Chris Shore for the submission!

I want to share a theory on this mistake: The student had an association between negative exponents and reciprocals and “half-powers” and square roots. As the student was parsing the problem he “fulfilled his obligation” to use that association on the number. I guess what I’m positing is that the mind works by making […]