Let us assume that the students haven’t been exposed to these two rules: ax+y=axay and axay=ax−y. They have just been introduced to the generalization: a−x=1ax from the pattern method: 22=4,21=2,20=1,2−1=12 etc. However, some students confuse 2−3 to be (−2)(−2)(−2) since they are familiar with 23=2⋅2⋅2. This is a low-income urban school and most kids in this algebra class struggle with math dealing with exponents, fractions and decimals. What would be the best approach to reach all 32 students?

**Answer**

You could say that the minus sign means an opposite; for instance, subtraction is the opposite of addition, and it uses the – symbol. Similarly division is the opposite of multiplication, and the division symbol has a minus sign in it (this isn’t where it comes from, but is only good for memorizing purposes).

So a minus in the exponent is the opposite of multiplying over and over again, namely dividing over and over again.

**Attribution***Source : Link , Question Author : Community , Answer Author :
Brian Rushton
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