## Saturday, 17 January 2009

### Indices | Interesting Mistakes (1)

I came across an amazing mistake on the index conversion which made me thinking.

One student wrote: a-1/2 = a2

What is the going in his brain?

He is not completely wrong. He had applied something related to the properties of indices. But had confused the application through improper usage.

This may be the result of trying to memorise the working instead of fully understanding the mathematics principles.

I suspected he may be using the idea of a-m = 1/am.

However, instead of changing or converting the numerator as a whole, he converted the index only.

Though the mistake made was minor, it created something of a surprise. Many interpretation came out of the simple index law.

Although formula is given at times to aid the solving of mathematics questions, the correct interpretation and understanding of the concepts and writing of the terms has to be digested with clarity.

Otherwise outcomes may appear that amuses the teachers.

:) Maths is fun when looked at from some angle.

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