MP4 Exploration of Rational Exponents

1

Part I: Writing a Rule for
Powe
rs of
4

4

3

4

2

Answer

x2

Pattern – fill in without
1

considering

42 .

41
1

42
4

0

4

1. Fill in the table (without

1
2

) and fill in the pattern (again without

2. There are two equal steps from

4

1

to

4

0

4

1
2

).

. What should each step be?

1

3. Therefore what does

42

need to equal? Check using your calculator.

4. Create your own table for powers of 9, from

92

90

to

and use a pattern and

1

equal steps to find what

92

equals. Check using your calculator.
1

5. Much more difficult – what do you think

22

equals? Why do you think this?

6. Use a table and pattern to try to reason it out. What does
you are correct.
7. What is the rule for any number to the half power?

Part II: Writing a Rule for

1
2

x =?
x

1
n

2

1
2

equal? Check that

1

8 3 . To get to

1. Consider the problem

81

between

80 . What do

and

1
3

, we must go in three equal steps
1

83

you do on each step? Therefore what is

? Check your answer on the calculator.
1

2. What do you think the rule is for any number to the one-third power?

x 3 =?

3. Think of some other numbers that will give a rational answer when raised to the
one-third power.
4. What do you think it means to do raise something to the one-fourth power? Try to
find

81

1
4

. You

may want to think about what
1

steps between

81 2

81

1
2

is and then think of equal

0

81 .

and

1

5. Check your answer using your calculator in two ways – once by typing in
and once by using the button that says

√n x

81 4

.

1

6. What is the rule:

x n =?
m

Part III: Writing a Rule for

1. Consider the problem

8

2
3

xn

. Go back to the work you did in question 1 of part 2.

2

83

What does

equal?

2. We can think of this problem in various ways. One way is to imagine it was the
answer to a multiplication problem with exponents as shown below. Don’t forget the
rules for multiplying with exponents! Fill in the blanks to solve this problem:

8 ×8 =8

2
3

2

×=¿

¿

83

8

2
3

3. Another way to think of this problem is that it was the answer to a powers
problem. Don’t forget the rules for raising a power to a power. Fill in the blanks to
solve this problem:
2

( 8❑) =8 3

() =8

2
3

2

¿ 83
4. When doing problem 3, what number did you put as the exponent inside the
bracket? What number did you put outside the bracket? Try the problem again but
flip which is in which place! Does it still work?
2

( 8❑) =8 3
2

()❑ =8 3
2

¿ 83
4

5. Which method did you prefer? Which method is good for solving

6. Can you explain how to solve
way to do it!

x

m
n

27 3 ?

? Try to write the rule – there’s more than one

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