Is this a power of something?
How could you change the picture so that it's a power?
When I posed this question to students, the first answer that I got was "Yes! It's a power of three!" quickly followed by "No it isn't!"
The next thing the kids came up with was "Yeah! It's the first power of 54!" This was expected. As part of our work on powers in the past week kids had worked with power patterns, and realized that any number can come at the start of one of these patterns.
Then I asked kids to pair up and to find a way to change this picture so that it was a power of something. Here were some of the answers that the kids gave when we came back:
...a power of 3.
("That could be the 1,274 power of one," B said.)
...a power of 2.
It took us a surprisingly long time to get to this:
Here's what I like about this task:
- It works out the language of "power" without worrying about which power it is.
- It's not calculation heavy, and I think that heavy calculations can get in the way of learning the language.
- It's a nice open question that allowed for a lot of different approaches.
We did this as part of a Quick Images activity, which I learned about from the TERC curriculum. (Video with 1st Graders here.) That's a fun game on its own: flash a dot-image for a second, then ask kids to write down what they saw and how many dots there were in total.