Skill 4 of 13
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Powers & exponents

Mathematical skill ●●○○○

In a game of ‘Double or Quits’ you just won four times in a row. The 200\,€ you started out with is doubled four times:

200\,€\cdot 2 \cdot 2  \cdot 2  \cdot 2 =3200\,€

If you continue winning this will take a long time to write. Let us write it shorter, for example as:

200\,€\cdot 2^4 =3200\,€

Instead of ‘2 times 2 times 2 times 2’ you can now say ‘2 four times’. Or what about ‘2 raised to the power of four’,[1] because this tiny raised number has quite a lot of “power”. A shorter version of this could be to say ‘2 to the fourth power’.

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  1. Sears and Zemansky’s Univesity Physics with Modern Physics’ (book), Hugh D. Young & Roger A. Freedman, Pearson Education, 13th ed., 2012