Time Allotment: Two or three class periods. 

Distribute the Remember This? worksheet located in Organizers for Students. It is helpful to introduce the use of exponential notation for expressing powers of ten and to connect this idea to the place value representation with which students are already familiar. Students may first do the calculations by hand or mentally, then confirm their answers using a calculator. The following scientific notation sites will help students with the calculations:
http://www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/textbook/scinot.html
http://edie.cprost.sfu.ca/~rhlogan/sci_not.html
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/geopow/solutions/19970919.geopow.html
http://forum.swarthmore.edu/~steve/steve/fractals.html
http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Edu/Fractal/Fractal_Home.html
http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Edu/Fractal/Ftopic.html 


The next step is to develop a number sense for very large and very small quantities and to develop an appreciation for the importance of scientific notation. Ask students to put the following numbers into their calculators: 165,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.0000000000005643 They will, of course, be unable to do so, since the calculator will not accept such large or small numbers unless they are first expressed in scientific notation. Begin a discussion concerning when a person might possibly need to talk about and work with numbers that are very small or very large. Under what circumstances might this occur? Use information gathered from the following sites to fuel the discussion.
http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Edu/Fractal/Fractal_Home.html
http://www.uq.oz.au/nanoworld/nanohome.html
http://bang.lanl.gov/solarsys/
http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~soper/Tour/Oct18.html 
Ask students to build a database of planetary information. They will find pertinent information at the following sites.
http://bang.lanl.gov/solarsys/
http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~soper/Tour/Oct18.html
http://tesuque.cs.sandia.gov/~bbooth/docs/planetaryhp.html
http://www.astro.ku.dk/~lars_c/tbp/nineplanets/express.html
http://www.eps.mcgill.ca/wtp/planets/index.html The Database of Planetary Information sheet, found in Organizers for Students, will help students with data collection. Students will also be asked to express numbers in scientific notation on this sheet and will be asked questions requiring them to perform calculations using scientific notation. Examples are provided on the Scientific Notation Calculations found in Organizers for Students.  
Ask students if it is possible to build a scale model of the solar system. The first thing the students should discuss is what the scale of the model should be. Since Pluto is very far away, even a small model can get out of hand! Have them try to build a model with the materials you have provided.  
Ask students to build a database of microscopic items. They will find this information at the Web site Nanoworld (http://www.uq.oz.au/nanoworld/nanohome.html), where they'll find pictures of highly magnified items such as blood, human hair, and insects. The site also includes pictures created using an electron microscope. The Database of Microscopic Information sheet, found in Organizers for Students will help students with data collection. It is important in this task for students to pay attention to the magnification levels that are provided with the images. Ask students to make drawings of some of the items that they identified at Nanoworld or related sites. Ask them to identify the level of magnification that their drawing represents.
