Exponents are a way to simplify a complicated number that is too large or small to write out. Exponents consist of two parts: a base and the actual exponent.
The Parts of Exponents
Exponents consist of a base and the actual exponent. The base is the number that is being multiplied to itself. The exponent (power) tells us how many times the base must be multiplied to itself.
Reading Exponents: Squares and Cubes
When reading exponents, it makes understanding easier by reading the exponents correctly. Exponents are known as powers. The number being raised a power is the base and the exponent is the power. For example, is read as “4 to the sixth power” which means 4 is multiplied to itself 6 times.
4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4
Numbers raised to the power of 2 are called “squared.” This means the base is multiplied to itself two times.
Numbers raised to the power of 3 are called “cubed” This means the base is multiplied to itself three times.
Basic Rules for Exponents
Zero power rule
Any base raised to the zero power is always equal to 1.
The Exponent 1
Any base raised to the 1st power or the power of 1 is the value of that base.
Any base raised to a negative exponent, the base will be flipped to its reciprocal. The base will become a denominator of a fraction multiplied to itself based on the exponent with 1 as a numerator. The value itself will NOT be negative.
Other Exponent Rules
We will cover two more exponent rules that you usually need to know for middle school math. There are other exponent rules that you will learn once you start algebra.
Power of powers rule
If two basses are the same value and being multiplied together, then the exponents are to be added together to get a solution.
The quotient of powers rule
If two bases are the same value and is divided, the base stays the same and the exponents are subtracted to get a solution.