Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Exponents Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Exponents, and supports the standards of using whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10, and writing and evaluating numerical expressions involving whole-number exponents. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.


Display expressions involving numbers in base 10, like these:

10 x 10 = 100

10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000

10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000

10 x 1/10 = 1

10 x 1/100 = 0.1

10 x 1/1,000 = 0.01

Ask students: 

  • How does multiplication affect a number? How does division affect a number?
  • How are the numbers 10 and 0.1 related? 
  • Do you notice any patterns in the numbers above? Explain.


  • Read aloud the description on the Exponent  Topic Page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “In Practice” or “In Depth”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Imagine you invest $2.00 in an account that doubles your money each week. Create a tutorial explaining how much money you would have after 10 weeks.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying quantities that are best measured with either positive or negative exponents, such as the number of cells in your body or the diameter of a red blood cell. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a math problem that uses exponents.


Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about exponents. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • How do exponents relate to multiplication and division?
  • Why might you represent a quantity with a positive exponent? Why might you use a negative exponent?
  • What is the exponential form of 1,000,000? 
  • How can you represent 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 with an exponential expression?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Exponents Quiz

Step 5: Extend Learning

Continue to build understanding around number and operations concepts with BrainPOP’s Numbers and Operations topics, games, and teacher resources. 

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments