Exponent Dominoes

I thought my introduction to exponents lesson would be a breeze, but students had a difficult time when parentheses and negative signs were involved. I saw lots of students with the same misconceptions, so I knew I needed an activity to help them differentiate between the two. I created Exponent Dominoes. The students loved this hands on activity. It led to great discussions like which of these match:

Before this activity, they could not see a difference between these expressions. They had to really understand what the parentheses mean to be able to correctly match the pairs. And they knew when they made a mistake because the end did not connect back to the beginning. Then they had to discuss where their mistake could be. Here is another one that really got to thinking. First a lot of them tried this:

One group tried this, but then decided since the two expressions were not equal that would not work. Nice try though - I may have to add a problem like that for next time.
 Ah yes, that's a match.
 My favorite part about this activity was it took only one piece of paper per group (I actually printed them on cardstock), and it led to very active engagement and great discussions. They all know the difference now between expressions inside parentheses and outside. Now on to Laws of Exponents ...
Here is the link to my Exponent Dominoes. Give it a try!

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