When I think of tricky math concepts for my fourth Graders … I think EXPONENTS! Introducing exponents was a math concept that I was dreading because I had a feeling that my students would fall into the rookie pattern of multiplying the base with the exponent. Much to my delight, my Fourth graders mastered exponents rather quickly when I slowed the lessons down and really took the time to explain the purpose of exponents. Considering that the PEMDAS lesson (“Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” or my personal favorite “Purple Elephants May Destroy A School”) was in our next unit, I knew we had to invest in some extra practice before moving on. Here are some helpful hints I learned along the way to help you successfully teach exponents to your students.
Start With Vocabulary for Exponent Success
Introducing vocabulary words like “base”, “exponent”, “expanded notation”, “powers”, and “standard notation” was an important start to my exponent unit introduction. I know my kids learn best when there is music and/or physical movement involved.
I found this YouTube Exponents Song video with a catchy beat to help introduce exponents to my students. We were jamming and singing along with the video all day long. Check it out!
This reference chart that I created helped the students to visually see that exponents are a way of expressing repeated multiplication. I posted this handy chart on our Math Anchor Wall as well as made a mini version to add to the students’ math reference folder. You can grab this FREEBIE here.
I love visuals and can’t get enough of them! It was only recently that I realized that I am actually a visual learner. I really need to see things in print or pictures to make a connection and commit new information to my long term memory – wish I knew that in middle school French when the entire class was oral and I struggled to write everything the teacher said phonetically as soon as the class was finished ;).
Lots of oral practice on our whiteboards helped my fourth graders master that exponents squared (to the 2nd power) does not mean times two but is rather a shortcut telling how many times the base number is being multiplied – in this case, two times. I would start each day with a simple review and exponent practice only to scaffold and increase each problem’s difficulty slowly.
Exponent Worksheets and Games are Perfect for Practice
Moving onto exponent practice worksheets was tons of fun when the students practiced using color by number activities, tic tac toe games, flashcard games, true and false activities, and Exponent Number Puzzles.
I love introducing math concepts to my students with lots of practice opportunities and then giving them the chance to independently explore these concepts through fun games, coloring activities, and sorts.
I love to see my students get excited to work in class but not realize that they are still actually practicing and learning. Differentiated practice pages are an easy way for me to meet my students where they are.
Exponent Practice Worksheets are fun and engaging for my students and incorporate the fun and excitement of Halloween and Christmas.
Never miss an opportunity to have the kids practice more exponent activities during the holidays. They love coloring and learning at the same time!
Ready for Exponent fun you can try With Your Class Today?
I am so excited to be able to offer you this super fun Exponent Color by Number FREEBIE! Your students will love coloring and you will love that they are getting in valuable practice at the same time.
Everything you Need to Teach Exponents
Thank you for taking your time to read about how I teach exponents to my fourth grade students. I hope these ideas help you plan some fun and engaging exponent activities in your classroom! Grab this Exponent Rules Bundle which includes everything you need to start teaching exponents in your classroom now.
You can always “COUNT ON ME” for engaging, differentiated math resources to help every student shine!
Be sure to save these fun and engaging exponent activities to your favorite Pinterest board today.