↑ Return to Teacher’s Corner

Power of 10 Class Activity

Here is a Word version of this document:  Powers of 10 Class Activity.


I learned a lot creating Tick Bait’s Universe.  I had to research topics to identify what content would be appropriate to put at each magnification level.  This involved researching very small and very large scientific concepts.  I had to measure the items on each page to make sure they were the right scale.  This involved a lot basic math.  I had to constantly convert between feet, millimeters, angstroms, and light years back to meters.  It was a very educational experience for me.

Why not replicate this learning experience for the kids in your class?  Have the whole class create a Power of 10 project.   From this exercise kids will:

  • Research some really big or very small scientific concepts
  • Define the scale of those objects
  • Deal with math concepts such as scientific notation and conversion

Also, this will make a cool illustrative display in any classroom.


Before You Begin

  1. Decide whether this is an individual project or a group project.
  2. Decide the range you want to cover.  Do you want to:
    • Just zoom up to study the atmosphere and astronomy
      (For example page 100 to 1020)
    • Just zoom down to study the microscopic world
      (For example page 100 to 10-20)
    • Or a little bit of up and down
      (For example page 10-10 to 1010)

The size of your range will be dependent on how many kids or teams you have doing the project.

Kick off the Activity in Class

  1. Start by presenting Tick Bait’s Universe to your class.  This will provide a model for your students of what to create.   Also, Tick Bait’s Universe makes for an educational presentation. Please see Tick Bait’s Presentation tips in my website.
  2. From the range you selected, assign one power of 10 magnification level (such as 10-4, 106, 1017, etc.…) to each student, or team.Note – I would not assign page 100.  I would do this as a class.  See step 6 below.
  3. Tell each student or team of students to:
    • Research what is small or large enough to see in each of their magnification levels.  For example, if they were assigned 102 they need to identify something that fits in a square whose sides are 100 meters long.
    • Create a “to scale” illustration of the topic they chose to cover in their magnification level.  Students could do the pictures by hand with crayons, markers, etc., but it might also be a good activity for the kids to do in PowerPoint.

      Here is a Power of 10 PowerPoint template to use in your class. Empty Power of 10 Class Activity Template

    • Create a “fact sheet” for any interesting information about what is being illustrated.
  4. As a class, select the starting point of your “Power of 10” activity.  That is, select what object you want on your page 100.  I started from a dirty dog in a backyard.   Where does your class want to start?
    • I recommend starting from 1) something that fits in a 1 meter square and 2) something that is living, because this provides smaller living things to zoom down on.
    • Ask for a volunteer to create page 100 (for extra credit??)
  5. Have the kids start their research.

Present and Display the “Power of 10” Illustrations

  1. When all students are finished with their illustration and fact sheet have a class presentation where each child presents their work to the rest of the class.Have the presentations go in order starting from page 100.
  2. Make sure each kid or team also presents their fact sheet to explain what is in their picture, its scale and how it fits into the universe.
  3. Optional – Present Tick Bait’s Universe again – Kid will have new insights into these concepts after doing it themselves.  This will lead to some very rich discussion.
  4. Display the children’s work linearly on the classroom wall.   That would make a cool and illustrative classroom decoration.
  5. Please send me, Marc Gamble, any work your kids have done to marcgamble@youuapps.com,  because as Tick Bait’s Dad, I would love to see it.

Leave a Reply