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Topic: numbers to the zero power
Replies: 4   Last Post: Dec 6, 2002 1:31 PM

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Mark Schwartz

Posts: 48
Registered: 12/6/04
numbers to the zero power
Posted: Dec 5, 2002 11:04 AM
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Ladnor wrote:
"I don't understand the statement below. Defining a number to the 0
power to be 1 is simply a convention that may make operations with
numbers a bit more automatic, i.e. one less special case to consider
when multiplying and dividing numbers. So should I assume that students
are delighted at the idea of increased mental efficiency?"

Let me comment further. The issue isn't "increased mental efficiency" or
blandly stating a convention - - it's a matter of exposure to an idea which
seems counterintutive, to an idea that has not been available to them in
their previous 10-12 years of math experience, to an idea that engages them
in some of the previous internal "mysteries" of math, to an idea that
somehow tickles their imagination. I don't approach my classes with
mathematical ideologies; rather I approach them with ideas and will
navigate the streams they want to explore ... later ... mark


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