Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Kellie, a student:

I am taking a 9th grade course yet im in 7th grade. I do not understand the nth power
and i have no clue what it is. could you explain to me what it is?


When n is a natural number, the nth power of x just means the product of n x's multiplied together. So the second power of A, A2 is AxA, the third power A3 is AxAxA, the seventh power A7 is AxAxAxAxAxAxA, and so on. Specific examples: 53 = 125, 117 = 1, 27 = 128, and so forth.

By thinking of repeated multiplication you can find rules for working with powers. For instance,

(2x2x2) x (2x2x2x2) = 2x2x2x2x2x2x2:
that is,
23 x 24 = 27.

Do you see a pattern here?



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