Dyslexia: Multiplication with exponents using variable bases from the gr9 Math curriculum in Ontario

For Parent

Multiplication with Exponents Using Variable Bases

At its core, the concept of multiplication with exponents using variable bases is quite simple. In mathematics, an exponent is a number used to indicate how many times something is multiplied by itself. The base of an exponent is the number that is being multiplied. When the base of an exponent is a variable, it means that it can be a different number each time.

For example, in the equation x^2 * x^3, x is the base and 2 and 3 are the exponents. This means that x is being multiplied by itself two times and then three times. Solving this equation would look like this:

x*x*x*x*x = x^5

If the 14 year old with dyslexia is having trouble understanding this concept, there are a few things that the parent can do to support them.

Using Visuals to Understand Equations

A common issue for people with Dyslexia is difficulty understanding complex written or numerical information. To help with this, the parent can provide visuals to make complex equations more approachable. For example, if the equation is x^2*x^3, the parent can draw a picture of two boxes and three boxes, labeled as x^2 and x^3. Then, they can explain that this means two boxes of x and three boxes of x, which makes five boxes in total.

Verbalization & Writing Down Steps

Another issue a person with Dyslexia may face is difficulty verbalizing equations. To help with this, the parent can have the student verbalize the steps of the equation out loud. For example, for the equation x^2*x^3, the student can say “x squared times x cubed equals x to the fifth.” Doing this regularly can help the student become more comfortable with this concept. Additionally, the parent can have the student write down the steps of the equation to cement the information and help them to better understand it.

Break Down Solutions into Smaller Steps

The last common issue a person with dyslexia may face is difficulty understanding and applying equations on their own. To help with this, the parent can break down the equation into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, if the student is trying to understand and solve x^2 * x^3, the parent can first explain the equation as two boxes of x and three boxes of x equals five boxes and then have the student rewrite the equation as “x times x times x times x times x equals x^5.” Breaking down the equation like this can help the student better understand it and make it easier for them to work through the equation on their own.

Equation for reference: x^2 * x^3

Sample question and answer: If x^2 * x^3, what is the value of x?


For Youth

Multiplication with exponents and variable bases can be a tricky subject, but I believe in you and I know you can understand it! Let’s try to explain it in a way that is simple and manageable.

An exponent is a type of math notation that stands for a number to be multiplied by itself a set number of times. For example, two to the third power (2 to the 3rd) means that two is multiplied by itself three times, which is the same as 2 x 2 x 2 = 8.

When you combine exponents with variable bases, it just means that instead of always multiplying the same number by itself, we change the number being used.

For example, with the equation 3^2 + 4^2, 3 and 4 are the variable bases. The equation instructs us to take 3 and multiply it by itself 2 times (3^2), then take 4 and multiply it by itself 2 times (4^2) and then add the two results together. To solve the question, it would be 3 x 3 = 9 and 4 x 4 = 16. Add the two together to get the answer: 9 + 16 = 25.

I know understanding exponents can be a challenge, especially with a dyslexia diagnosis, so here are a few tips:
– Try breaking up the equation into individual parts and use visual cues such as color coding to help you organize it and understand it better.
– If it’s still a bit confusing, try drawing pictures or diagrams to help you better understand it.
– If you’re still really stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out to your teacher for help. They are there to support you and make sure you understand the material!

I know you can do it! Just take your time and remember that learning math takes practice and patience, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right away. You got this! 🙂