Exponential Error

23 = 8

32 = 9

24 = 16

42 = 16

43 = 64

103 = 1000

102 = 100

101 = 10

100 = 1

10-1 = 0.1

Can you spot the mitsake?

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


Topics: Starter | Indices | Logarithms

  • Transum,
  • At the time of writing this is a new starter idea. It is intended for pupils who can confidently understand the facts in the left column but may need to consider some of the unfamiliar facts in the lower part of the right column leading to discussion or research (on a calculator maybe). Of course this starter would also be suitable for older pupils who already know about indices less than one. What was the reaction when you revealed the answer?
  • Josh Hand, King's Worcester
  • Excellent - well done. The more of these the better.
  • Dana Issam, UAE
  • I think the error is in the 2^4, all of the other sums are related to the rules of indices.
  • Peter Wright, St Joseph's College
  • Love using the Starter of the Day activities to get the students into Maths mode at the beginning of a lesson. Lots of interesting discussions and questions have arisen out of the activities.
    Thanks for such a great resource!
  • Alice, Wisconsin
  • I can't spot any mistakes. What is the answer, please.

    [Transum: The answer Alice is lower down this page but you must be logged in as a teacher to see it.]

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
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This starter has scored a mean of 3.7 out of 5 based on 90 votes.

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The word mistake is spelled incorrectly (that is the mistake!)

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Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers?
Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons?

Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Laptops In Lessons

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.


Here is the URL which will take them to the Indices Pairs game.


Student Activity


Maths Trivia

The digits of the number are the same as the digits of the power of ten in these cases:

1.3712885742 = 100.13712885742
237.5812087593 = 102.375812087593
3550.2601815865 = 103.5502601815865

Can you find any other interesting facts about indices?

You can find more mathematical trivia at Transum.org/go/?to=Trivia



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