The power of zero 

Filling the pail

Dan Meyer recently published a blog post on how to teach the idea that any number raised to the power of zero is simply one. This is an important result that crops up in many different areas and so it’s critical that students know it.

Meyer asked us to choose between two strategies. The first he described as ‘teaching tricks’ and I agree that it’s not very enlightening. The presenter of the video simply tells you that anything raised to the power of zero is one. And that’s it.

Meyer is keen on a different pattern-based activity that he describes as ‘sensemaking’. I think this approach is better than the first but it still doesn’t really explain anything. In my view, it’s more of a pattern-based trick. I’m not quite sure what ‘sensemaking’ means – which is ironic – but I thought this would be a good cue to explain the…

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