Lesson 14

Multiplying, Dividing, and Estimating with Scientific Notation

Lesson Narrative

Students perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation, use numbers expressed in the form of a single digit times an integer power of 10 to estimate very large or very small quantities, and express how many times as much one quantity is than the other. Students interpret their results in context (MP2).

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Generalize (orally and in writing) a process of multiplying and dividing numbers in scientific notation.
  • Use scientific notation and estimation to compare quantities and interpret (orally and in writing) results in context.

Student Facing

Let’s multiply and divide with scientific notation to answer questions about animals, careers, and planets.

Required Preparation

Consider finding an attention-grabbing image of cats and people for the launch of the "Biomass" activity to get students thinking about how the global human population compares to the global cat population.

Print and cut up slips from the Info Gap: Distances in the Solar System blackline master. One copy of the blackline master is needed for every 4 students. A class set could be re-used if you have more than one class.

Learning Targets

Student Facing

  • I can multiply and divide numbers given in scientific notation.
  • I can use scientific notation and estimation to compare very large or very small numbers.

CCSS Standards


Building Towards

Glossary Entries

  • scientific notation

    Scientific notation is a way to write very large or very small numbers. We write these numbers by multiplying a number between 1 and 10 by a power of 10.

    For example, the number 425,000,000 in scientific notation is \(4.25 \times 10^8\). The number 0.0000000000783 in scientific notation is \(7.83 \times 10^{\text-11}\).