Powers Challenge – Scientific Notation or Place Value

I started writing this task with Scientific Notation in mind, but think it would work with any class who are consolidating work on place value and powers of ten.  

There is a perhaps more to this task than meets the eye on first inspection.  There are three groups that I would intend the pupils can sort these into.  One group where all the cards are equal to 320,000, one group where all the cards equal 0.000032 another group where the cards don’t belong to these original groups.  

How I would use this:
  • Ask the pupils to group the cards together.  Do not say how many groups to group them into, even if they ask!
  • Pupils work in pairs.  The collaboration and discussion of reasoning is important here. 
  • Once they have got the correct piles together I would speak to the pairs and chose some specific cards from their sort and ask them to justify it’s inclusion in the pile.  I am looking for a reason beyond the superficial.  The design of the task is intended to mean that there are enough cards which are “close misses”, that this won’t be too common.  
  • There are two blank cards.  This is the final part of the task.  On each of the blank cards I want pupils to create another expression which would fit the 320,000 and 0.000032 piles.

Credit: @chrismcgrane84

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