Dyslexia: Exponents with Integer Bases from the gr9 Math curriculum in Ontario

For Parent

What is an Exponent with an Integer Base?

Exponents with integer bases is a mathematical concept that involves taking a number and multiplying it by itself multiple times. The exponent is the number of times it is multiplied by itself. For example, 2 to the 3rd power is written as 23 and can be solved by multiplying 2 by itself 3 times. This can be written as 2x2x2 or 8.

How to Help Your 14 Year Old With Dyslexia Understand Exponents with Integer Bases

There are a few issues that your 14 year old with Dyslexia may run into while trying to understand Exponents with Integer Bases. First, they may have a hard time understanding the equation. To help, draw a visual representation of the equation using objects like blocks to make it easier to understand. Second, they may also have difficulty with memorizing terms. To help, break each term down to its simplest form and use visual memory techniques such as mnemonics. Third, they may struggle with keeping track of the multiplier numbers and the amount of times the number is multiplied by itself. To solve this issue, try using memory tricks such as mental imaging to reinforce multiply numbers and exponents.

Examples for Helping Your 14 Year Old With Dyslexia Understand Exponents with Integer Bases

1. Use Visual Representations

For example, when solving an equation like 23 = 8, you can use visuals such as blocks to help. Take two blocks, stack them up, then stack the two original blocks onto that new stack. This matches the equation 2x2x2, which is equal to 8.

2. Break Terms Down Into Simpler Forms

If your 14 year old finds vocabulary like exponent and base confusing, help them by breaking these words down into their simplest forms. Explaining the exponent as ‘the number of times it is multiplied by itself’ and the base as ‘the original number before it’s multiplied’ may make it easier for them to understand.

3. Use Memory Tricks

To help your 14 year old remember the purpose of the exponent and the multiplier numbers for equations such as 23, use memory tricks such as mental imaging. For example, imagine that the number 2 is holding a flag with the number 3 written on it – this is a visual representation that the 2 is being multiplied by itself 3 times.

Equation Example: 23 = 8

Question: What is 23?
Answer: 8

For Youth

When talking about exponents with integer bases, we are talking about numbers that are multiplied and “raised to a power”. That power is called an exponent.

For example: 2³ is 2 x 2 x 2, the exponent is the 3 which means how many times the 2 gets multiplied by itself.

The numbers we are multiplying can be called the base. So, in this example 2 is the base.

If we want to help a dyslexic person to understand exponents with integer bases, we should focus on the visuals.

Start by drawing a number line for the student: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and continue in the same way, with numbers increasing on the right and decreasing on the left.

Draw a picture to represent the base number (e.g. show an image of 4 people for a base of 4). Now for each exponent, add one extra picture of the base. So for a base of 4 with an exponent of 3, the student should draw 3 extra pictures of the base to represent the equation 4³

For the equation 2³, draw 2 lines that look like this “II” and then draw 2 more lines to represent the exponent. This will help the student to remember that 3 is the exponent.

Finally, provide the dyslexic student with helpful mnemonics (word or image) to remember the equation that works for them.

Overall, the idea is to make this math concept easier to process and understand with the use of visuals and fun mnemonics or images. Take the time to explain each step of the equation in a way that will make the most sense to the dyslexic student. This will help the student to better understand this concept and feel more comfortable with it.