One of the things I am determined that my students will leave my classroom knowing this year is the word "vinculum." It's one of those things that I use on a daily basis that I didn't know the name for until a year or so ago. I teach my students to remember that the vinculum looks like a giant subtraction sign.

You know that bar you put above a repeating decimal? You know that bar you put between the numerator and denominator of a fraction? Thus, we subtract the exponents when dividing powers with like bases.

In a multiplication problem, the arrow points to add, so we add the exponents. I earned a degree in pure mathematics without knowing what the word meant.

In an addition problem, the arrow points to nothing, so we do nothing to the exponents. I've emphasized this word so much this year, my eighth graders found it necessary to correct their science teacher for not referring to the vinculum by its proper name when learning about the density equation. But, I do think it goes to show my students that they shouldn't be scared by new vocab words just because they sound scary.

We also discussed why anything raised to the zero power is equal to 1.It sparked so many amazing conversations that wouldn't have happened otherwise. And, I explained it to my students like this: The arrow tells us what to do to the exponent **rules**.In a power to a power problem, the arrow points to multiply, so we multiply the exponents.I started out by pairing the students up and having them match the exponent rule question cards with the exponent rule answer cards.After checking their answers, I had them switch decks and repeat.

We also discussed why anything raised to the zero power is equal to 1.

It sparked so many amazing conversations that wouldn't have happened otherwise. And, I explained it to my students like this: The arrow tells us what to do to the exponent **rules**.

In a power to a power problem, the arrow points to multiply, so we multiply the exponents.

I started out by pairing the students up and having them match the exponent rule question cards with the exponent rule answer cards.

After checking their answers, I had them switch decks and repeat.

On the Smart Board, I demonstrated how to write out the powers in the problems as multiplication to derive the answer. Slowly, we worked through almost all of the types of exponent problems. "But, you've never showed us how to work out a problem that looks like this. One of my students in third period decided from the very beginning that he wanted to be a zombie. They were quite devastated when I told them we would be taking notes.