Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Pat, a parent:

The African bush elephant is the largest land animal and weighs about 8 tons. Write this amount in exponential form.

Hi Pat,

"Exponential form" simply means a numeric form involving exponents. There are many ways to write 8 tons in exponential form and I am not sure what the textbook or teacher want. For example 8 = 23 so the answer expected might be 23 tons. Perhaps the expected answer is in pounds. One ton is 2,000 pounds so 8 tons is 16,000 pounds. What I see here is that 16 = 24 and 1,000 is 103 so you could write 8 tons as 24 × 103 pounds.

I hope this helps,


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