Arithmetic of Standard Index Form (Scientific Notation) Numbers

Learn how to do arithmetic with this calculator for Standard Index Form numbers (numbers in Scientific notation), changing to and from normal numbers, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing.

Author and programmer: Ron Barrow

UK Years 9-11, KS3, KS4, Higher GCSE Mathematics, Grades C - A*, Number


Instructions below    See also:   Fractions calculator

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How to Use this Applet

The idea behind this applet is to play around and get a feel for Standard Index Form numbers (numbers in Scientific Notation) and how they behave.
At the start there are two numbers, A and B, drawn as Standard Index Form numbers, and next to them you'll the same numbers drawn as normal numbers.
By clicking the four buttons at the bottom you can add, subtract, multiply or divide the two numbers. Click one of those buttons to see what happens. You can learn alot by looking carefully at how the calculations are done.
You can click "hide" to hide the working. You might want to do this to set challenges to yourself or others.

You can change the numbers A and B in two ways:
 • By clicking the "random A" and "random B" buttons you get new numbers randomly. Try it.
 • By clicking the red dots (near A and B) and dragging them you can change the different parts of the number and get any number you want. It takes some practice but have a try. By clicking the "reset" button you can get back to the numbers you started with.
Please note that some very large or very small numbers cannot be shown in normal form (they don't fit on the screen!), and that all the Standard Index Form numbers are rounded to 3 significant figures (3 s.f.).
Play around! Learn as you have fun!