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When encountering exponents, most students try to memorize rules with no conceptual understanding. Research has shown that procedural knowledge of exponents is insufficient for trying to find the value of exponential expressions and requires a deeper understanding of the logic behind the exponent rules and the relationships with symbols, their meanings, and the rules themselves (Ulosoy 2018). Other studies have found that teachers also have difficulty understanding and teaching exponents (Levenson 2012Zazkis & Kontorovich 2016). In this course, you will deepen your conceptual understanding of exponents by exploring the connections among in/out tables, graphs, equations, and verbal expressions. 


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Instructors (especially those preparing students for the HiSET or using CALM) who want to build on their own conceptual understanding of and strategies for teaching exponents

This five-session virtual course is based on the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE), including the Standards for Mathematical Practice and the key instructional shifts. Each lesson begins with a question to pique your interest in the topic. Through exploration, you will investigate the effect that exponents can have on situations.

The emphasis will be on helping you develop your own conceptual understanding of core math topics related to exponents, while modeling instructional strategies for the classroom. You will be encouraged to try out new ideas between each session module.

Topics covered include:

  • Patterns with exponents
  • Powers of 10
  • Interest rates
  • Graphing with exponents

This is a 12-hour online course spread over five weeks. For more information, please contact Sherry Soares (

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Describe some of the patterns of exponents, including those involving zero and negative exponents
    Explain how formulas with exponents affect situations
    Manipulate algebraic expressions and equations in various formats: verbal model, in/out tables, graphs, and equations
    Describe some basic differences between linear and nonlinear situations, their in/out tables and their graphs
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

Participants ideally should have at least a minimal understanding of in/out tables and graphing.

End Date

United States

PD Center
SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum and Instruction PD Center
Topic Area
ABE/Adult Education
College and Career Readiness
College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE)
Digital Literacy
Learning Disabilities
Mathematics and Adult Numeracy