Contributor: Briana Pincherri. Lesson ID: 11244
Don't be an opponent of exponents if you don't understand them; they help you with longer math problems! "Base" your understanding on this lesson, including video and online practice! Don't be square!
Why do some numbers in math look like a BIG number with a little ^{mini} number next to it in the upperright corner? Does it mean the font size just wasn't used correctly on the problem? NO! That little number is actually a clue that tells you how many times to multiply the big number by itself. It's called an exponent (or power), and learning the proper way to solve exponents is very helpful in higherlevel math!
When you see a number with a ^{small} number in the upper right corner, this is an example of an exponent.
The exponent (or little number) tells you how many times to multiply the big number times itself.
Here are two examples:
3^{2} 
= 
3 x 3 

= 
9 

2^{5} 
= 
2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 

= 
32 
KEY: The exponent is NOT the big number times the small number, but instead it stands for how many times to multiply the big number times itself. If you find a way to remember that now, it will help immensely, because that is the numberone mistake made with exponents!
Let's look at this a little more in depth. While you watch Math Antics  Intro To Exponents (aka Indices), please fill in the vocabulary or answer the questions below on a separate piece of paper. This video goes in a bit more detail on exponents:
Let's head to the next section to check your answers and try a few practice problems with exponents.
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