1.6: Evaluate Numerical and Variable Expressions Involving Powers
Do you know how to evaluate a numerical expression when it has powers in it? Casey is having a difficult time doing exactly that. When Casey arrived home from school he looked at his homework. He immediately noticed this problem.
Casey isn't sure how to evaluate this expression. Do you know how to do it? This Concept will show you how to evaluate numerical expressions involving powers. Then you will be able to help Casey at the end of the Concept.
Guidance
Did you know that you can evaluate numerical and variable expressions involving powers? First, let's identify a numerical and a variable expression.
A numerical expression is a group of numbers and operations that represent a quantity, there isn’t an equal sign.
A variable expression is a group of numbers, operations and variables that represents a quantity, there isn’t an equal sign.
We can combine the order of operations, numerical expressions and variable expressions together with powers.
Let’s talk about powers.
A power is a number with an exponent and a base. An exponent is a little number that shows the number of times a base is multiplied by itself. The base is the regular sized number that is being worked with.
Take a minute to write these definitions in your notebook.
Now let's apply this information.
What happened here?
We can break down this problem to better understand powers and exponents. In the power
Let's go back a step and evaluate an expression with a power in it. Take a look.
Evaluate
First, we have to think about what this means. It means that we take the base, 6 and multiply it by itself three times.
The answer is 216.
Here is another one with a negative number in it.
Evaluate
To work on this one, we have to work on remembering integer rules. Think back remember that we multiply a negative times a negative to get a positive.
The answer is 64.
This is called evaluating a power.
Let’s look at evaluating powers within expressions.
Simplify the expression
Step 1: Simplify
Step 2: Simplify
Step 3: Add to solve.
The answer is 1,340.
We can also evaluate variable expressions by substituting given values into the expressions.
Evaluate the expression
Step 1: Substitute 3 for the variable “
Step 2: Simplify the powers.
Step 3: Multiply to solve.
The answer is 36.
Evaluate each numerical expression.
Example A
Solution:
Example B
Solution:
Example C
Solution:
Now let's go back to the dilemma at the beginning of the Concept. Here is the problem that was puzzling to Casey.
First, Casey will need to evaluate the powers.
Now we can substitute these values back into the expression.
This is the answer to Casey's problem.
Vocabulary
 Numerical Expression
 a group of numbers and operations used to represent a quantity without an equals sign.
 Variable Expression
 a group of numbers, operations and variables used to represent a quantity without an equals sign.
 Powers
 the value of a base and an exponent.
 Base
 the regular sized number that the exponent works upon.
 Exponent
 the little number that tells you how many times to multiply the base by itself.
Guided Practice
Here is one for you to try on your own.
Evaluate the expression
Solution
Step 1: Substitute 5 for “
Step 2: Simplify the powers.
Step 3: Multiply then add to solve.
The answer is 3,142.
Video Review
[ http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=8htcZca0JIA Khan Academy Level 1 Exponents]
Practice
Directions: Evaluate each power.

33 
42 
(−2)4 
(−8)2 
53 
26 
(−9)2 
(−2)6
Directions: Evaluate each numerical expression.

62+22 
(−3)3+18 
23+16−4 
(−5)2−19  \begin{align*}(7)^2 + 52  2\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}18 + 9^2  3\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}22  3^3 + 7\end{align*}
Directions: Evaluate each variable expression using the given values.
 \begin{align*}6a + 4^2  2\end{align*}, when \begin{align*}a = 3\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}a^3 + 14\end{align*}, when \begin{align*}a = 6\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}2a^2  16\end{align*}, when \begin{align*}a = 4\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}5b^3 + 12\end{align*}, when \begin{align*}b = 2\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}2x^2 + 52\end{align*}, when \begin{align*}x = 4\end{align*}
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Term  Definition 

Base  When a value is raised to a power, the value is referred to as the base, and the power is called the exponent. In the expression , 32 is the base, and 4 is the exponent. 
Evaluate  To evaluate an expression or equation means to perform the included operations, commonly in order to find a specific value. 
Expression  An expression is a mathematical phrase containing variables, operations and/or numbers. Expressions do not include comparative operators such as equal signs or inequality symbols. 
Integer  The integers consist of all natural numbers, their opposites, and zero. Integers are numbers in the list ..., 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 3... 
Numerical expression  A numerical expression is a group of numbers and operations used to represent a quantity. 
Parentheses  Parentheses "(" and ")" are used in algebraic expressions as grouping symbols. 
Power  The "power" refers to the value of the exponent. For example, is "three to the fourth power". 
substitute  In algebra, to substitute means to replace a variable or term with a specific value. 
Variable Expression  A variable expression is a mathematical phrase that contains at least one variable or unknown quantity. 
Volume  Volume is the amount of space inside the bounds of a threedimensional object. 
Image Attributions
Here you'll evaluate numerical and variable expressions involving powers.