Significant Figures


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This text is meant to accompany class discussions. It is not everything there is to know about uniform circular motion. It is meant as a  prep for class. More detailed notes and examples are given in the class notes, presentations, and demonstrations (click here.)

Click for the questions that go with this reading
Students will be able to:
    • Identify the precision of a measuring tool.
    • Identify the estimated digit is a significant figure.
    • Apply the rules of significant figures to math expressions involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and powers in the same expression.
    • Convert back and forth between decimal and scientific notation form.
    • express scientific notation in its formal, (proper,) form.


Class presentation #1
First class presentation with some solutions.
Some Solutions
Some solutions to problems assigned in class.
Sections: (Each section includes examples and practice problems.)
  1. Introduction (Determining an instrument's precision.)
  2. Non-zero numbers are all significant.
  3. Non-zero digits and zeros between non-zero digits are always significant.
  4. Leading zeros before the first non-zero digit are not significant.
  5. Trailing zeroed to the right of the decimal point are always significant.
  6. Trailing zeros left of the decimal point are ambiguous.
  7. Scientific Notation
  8. Placing a decimal after a zero makes the zero significant. this is also indicated by placing a line over that zero.
  9. Exact Numbers
  10. Rounding According to the Rules of Significant Figures
  11. Adding and Subtracting according to the rules of significant figures.
  12. Multiplying and Dividing Significant Figures
  13. Logarithms and Significant figures
  14. Combined Math Steps with Significant Figures

by Tony Wayne ...(If you are a teacher, please feel free to use these resources in your teaching.)

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