Scientific Notation

The Scientific Notation web tool with student activities and accompanying instructor materials is currently being field tested.  If you teach undergraduates or have students interested in astronomy and would like to participate in the field test, please contact Grace Deming (

What Do Students Learn?

As a part of our research we are assessing the effectiveness of the web materials on the Astronomy Workshop site.  The student activities were developed after a series of interviews with introductory astronomy students of various backgrounds and mathematics abilities. The learning outcomes for the Scientific Notation activities are:
How Do We Best Use These Activities?

The activities are arranged in a numbered format so that you may assign the ones that best serve your purposes.  Our research shows that students enter an astronomy course with a wide range of mathematical abilities.  The Scientific Notation web site includes a review of scientific notation and the application skills that are normally required in an introductory astronomy course. There is a ‘Help me!' feature at the bottom of the page for students who need a more thorough review of these skills.  The activities are designed to help students acquire or review the skills necessary for success in understanding scientific notation and computation.  Each activity suggests practice followed by a demonstration of proficiency in the form of a quiz, which can be easily printed out and collected as homework to assure accountability. Since the aim of these activities is preparation for using scientific notation in the course, we allow students to re-take the quiz as many times as they would like.  It is different every time.  This feature provides an easy way to assure that students are individually completing the assignment. 

Please not that Activity 4 is a combination of Activities 1-3.

Activity PacketsListed below are activities featuring the Scientific Notation web tool. The activity packets are provided in both Word Microsoft Word format and PDF Adobe PDF format. If you would like to view a PDF, you may download the free Acrobat Reader program from Adobe.