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maths - powers??

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hattster | 14:19 Wed 14th Jun 2006 | Jobs & Education
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Can someone please explain what powers are eg X tot he power of 5


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'to the power of' refers to multiplication of a number by itself. Therefore, 4 (for example) 'to the power of' 2 (usually referred to as 'squared') means 4 x 4. Continuing from this, 4 'to the power of' 3 means 4 x 4 x 4, and so on.

yes, the prior answer is correct.


also, when the "power" is three, it is called "cubed".


setting numbers to the "power" of something is called exponents. the number is the "base" and the "power" is called the "exponent". the exponent tells you how many times to multiply the base by itself.


you do NOT multiply the base and the exponent together. the only time that works is with 2x2=4. (or any other time the base and the exponent are the same.)


you can have a negative base - the answer will be positive if the exponent is an even number (2, 4 6, etc.) or the answer will be negative if the exponent is an odd number (3, 5, 7, etc.).


you can have negative exponents - the answer may be a decimal or fraction (a number less than 1) - you would see this most commonly when you do scientific notation (really really big things or really really little things).


this may be more information than you were hoping for, but i am a 7th grade math teacher on summer break - i gotta use it or lose it! :D thanks for reading. good luck and happy math!

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