CH 104: Lesson 1a

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Scientific Notation on Calculators

Probably, you will use a calculator to do your calculations. I recommend that you use one that handles scientific notation and learn how to use it properly. The reason for this is that a calculator can treat a number like 1.23x104 in two different ways. First, it can treat the number as a single numerical value written in a particular format, scientific notation. Second, it can treat the number as two separate numbers multiplied together, (1.23) times (104). For our purposes the first approach is better.

To tell if your calculator handles scientific notation, look for an "EE" button or an "EXP" button. When using scientific notation on a calculator, do not type in "x10", the "EE" or "EXP" button replaces that part of the number. Instead, enter 1.23"EE"4 or 1.23"EXP"4. Also, make note of how that value is displayed in the screen of the calculator.

Additional information is given in Example 14 in your workbook. It lists a number of things to keep in mind when using a calculator. Read through those comments and keep those factors in mind. These comments do not address features specifically related to programmable calculators or RPN calculators.

To make sure you are using your calculator correctly I would like you to work out the following calculations. (They are also shown in Example 15 in your workbook.) The correct answers will be given to you after you submit your answers. (The correct answers are also given in Example 15 in your workbook.) If you have errors, don't dismiss them lightly. Find out what is causing the error and correct it. Keep in mind that calculators do not know how to round off to the correct number of significant digits. You have to do that part. If you are not already familiar with that, we will take it up later in the lesson.

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Clackamas Community College E-mail instructor: Sue Eggling
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