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We identify significant figures or significant digits in order to accurately represent the precision of measurements or calculations. The ability to identify these digits is important in many areas, including when reporting information using scientific notation and when accurately reporting the results of calculations.
One of the most common places students encounter significant figures is when using scientific notation in science class. With scientific notation only the significant figures of a number are preserved, The number 0.000560 has 3 significant digits, so the number is 5.60 x 10-4 when written in scientific notation. Significant figures are also important when making calculations with measurements. For example, if you need to calculate the total weight of a solution that contains 125.0 grams of water and 0.402 grams of salt, then the calculator would report the result as 125.402 grams. In order to present this result without misrepresenting the accuracy of the measurement, the result needs to be presented as 125.4 grams. This significant figures worksheet is designed to help student practice identifying significant digits in a number.
The identifying significant figures worksheet maker creates problem sets for students to practice identifying the significant digits. The students will report their answer by counting the number of significant digits in each number. Each worksheet can contain up to 30 problems each. The worksheet can contain any combination of whole numbers, decimals, or numbers written in scientific notation. The numbers on each sheet are randomly generated using an algorithm that ensures students will get to apply a variety of different rules. This also allows you to create a variety of different worksheets without repeating the same problem sets. After you have customized the worksheet to meet you requirements, you can print it or download it as a PDF in US Letter or A4 paper sizes. Each unique worksheet will include a matching answer sheet.
If your students need an additional overview of identifying significant figures and the significant figure rules, then Khan Academy has a video lesson on their website. It does an excellent job of reviewing 6 types of numbers that student may encounter when counting significant digits in a number.