Scientific Notation Basic Understanding


Scientific Notation Basic Understanding teaches students how to write very large and very small numbers in scientific notation. The lesson should only take up one 45-minute class session. Students will learn how to convert numbers in standard form to scientific notation and vice versa. The various worksheets provide quite a bit of practice. However, you may want to add your own examples or create other ways to demonstrate the concept.

There are a couple of suggestions outlined in the “Options for Lesson” section that may help you in your instruction. You can discuss engineering notation, for instance, with advanced students. They can discuss how this notation differs from scientific notation.

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What our Scientific Notation Basic Understanding lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Scientific Notation Basic Understanding introduces students to the concept of scientific notation. Students will learn how to write using this method to represent very small and very large numbers. They will see how using exponents helps them condense equations and numbers so that they aren’t so long.

There are two content pages that describe the subject matter. The lesson first defines scientific notation and why people use it. Students will learn that people in both science and math fields often use these numbers. It is often much easier to read numbers in this format rather than the standard format.

The lesson then describes how to write numbers in scientific notation by providing three distinct steps. There are three examples that students can refer to for practice. Then the lesson talks about how to write a scientific number in standard form. You may choose to add more examples than what the lesson contains. You might even have students suggest some of their own examples.


Students will need to work with partners for the activity portion of the lesson. The activity will involve some role-playing. Each student will take turns being the Boss and being the Assistant. The Boss will give directions step by step on how to solve a problem. (There are four problems total, so each students will get two turns per role.) The Assistant will write the problem and solve it using the boss’s instructions.


For the practice worksheet, students will solve each problem of 16 total. Each problem will direct them to either write their answer in standard form or using scientific notation.


For the homework assignment, students will review a table that displays movies and their gross earnings. The earnings are in standard form, so students must write them in scientific notation in the space in the third column. Then they will write eight numbers in the next section in standard form.

Additional information


6th Grade



State Educational Standards

LB.MATH.CONTENT.6-Advanced Lesson

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.