|I had a student volunteer to "teach" - she was great!|
The context given in All About Alice provides such a neat alternative to simply just giving the students the rules of exponents. Piece after Piece establishes the rule for multiplying powers with the same base. Some of my students wanted to ADD 2^3 and 2^5 so to help them I told them to remember that we are always looking at what we are MULTIPLYING Alice's height by. I am interested to see how other IMP teachers handle this...
Many Meals for Alice establishes the rule for raising a power to a power. The original power is for the number of ounces of cake she eats at each meal - #1 is 3 ounces of base 2 cake so it is actually 2^3. Then the students figure out what is happening to her height after certain numbers of meals. In the end they have hopefully developed the idea that (2^3)^4 means that Alice ate 4 meals where she had 3 ounces of base 2 cake. It takes a few times of looking at it to start making the connection. I LOVE #3.
In Search of the Law actually has the students to explore exponent rules that I have not usually put much thought into. It took me a minute or two of exploring myself - I actually had to tell my students to start working on #1 while I went to read the teacher's guide! When I glanced over the activity the day before I taught it I didn't realize it was going to throw me a curve. Anyway...this activity is actually not difficult AT ALL. It gives the students several scenarios to just work with exponents.