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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
How Big? How Small?
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

picture Using a variety of Web resources relating to the solar system and microworlds, students will explore the Internet and note occurrences of objects and measurements that are very, very small and very, very large. This exploration will provide a context for learning about scientific notation and doing computations using this notation. Students will build a model of the solar system and create a database of planetary information using scientific notation. Students will also create a database of very small objects occurring in nature and the measurements that characterize them, using scientific notation.

Grade Level:


Subject Matter:


Curricular Uses:

Scientific Notation, Numerical Operations, Decimal Calculations, The Solar System.

  • Learning Objectives

    Students will be able to:

  •  Explain the need for scientific notation.
  •  Explain how scientific notation is related to multiplying and dividing by powers of 10.
  •  Represent numbers using standard notation and scientific notation and be able to convert from one representation to the other.
  •  Perform calculations using numbers in scientific notation form.
  •  Use a calculator to help develop an understanding of scientific notation.
  •  Develop number sense that allows them to understand the magnitudes of very large and very small numbers that are encountered in the real world, such as the distances between planets in the solar system or the size of a red blood cell.

    Use of Internet: Students will use the Web for data collection, organizing data, and reporting their results.

    This lesson was developed by Tracy Goodson Espy, wNetSchool Master Teacher, and was funded by the Louis Calder Foundation.