## Real World Applications – Algebra I

### Topic

Using exponents to figure out the wingspan of bats

### Student Exploration

Exponents can be used in a variety of ways to represent length. Specifically, negative exponents are used to represent how small something is. Bats, for example, are pretty tiny creatures. Zoologists use negative exponents to measure different parts of bats, such as their wingspan. The world’s smallest bat, the bumblebee bat, for example, weighs of \begin{align*}7 \times 10^{-2}\end{align*}

Let’s compare this weight with the weight of other animals. A dragonfly, has a weight of 0.0001 ounce, or \begin{align*}1 \times 10^{-4}\end{align*}

It’s beneficial to look at the scientific notation of the numbers and compare, rather than looking at the decimals. We know that \begin{align*}10^{-4}\end{align*}

We can find out by figuring out what to multiply \begin{align*}10^{-4}\end{align*}

### Extension Investigation

Compare the weight or another part of two animals and represent their measurements in scientific notation. How can you use the laws of exponents to compare these measurements?

### Resources Cited

http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/bats/bumblebee_bat.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091029133121AAnebIy