2.6 Calculators and scientific notation
So far you have carried out calculations involving scientific notation by hand. To make life a little easier, you can input numbers in scientific notation into most calculators.
How you do this will vary between different calculators, but the keys to look for are 10×, EXP or EE. Generally you just enter the first number, followed by the 10×, EXP or EE key, and then the power. There is no need to press the multiplication button because this is done automatically by the calculator.
So to enter 1 × 103, press ‘1’, then 10×, EXP or EE, and finally 3.
Have a go now and see if you can work out how to enter 4.5 × 103 and 4 × 10–4.
You may need to be careful with some calculators when performing calculations with scientific notation in terms of what they are including as part of the power. For example, if you input 4.5 × 103 × 2, some calculators may include the 2 as part of the power – so you may need to include the power in brackets to differentiate this clearly.
Here’s an activity to practise working with numbers in scientific notation in general and particularly when using a calculator.
Activity 7 Working with numbers in scientific notation
Work out the following using your calculator. Show all your final answers in correctly formatted scientific notation.
- c.In a country, there are 7 532 000 beehives, and each hive contains about 50 000 bees at the peak of the bee season. Write each of these numbers in scientific notation, then use your calculator to find the total number of bees in the country.
That's a lot of bees – about 380 billion!
This completes your study of scientific notation, but not the work associated with powers. Before finishing for this week, there is one final area to look at with regards to powers. The operation that reverses or undoes these – roots.