Lots of misconceptions arose and their understanding of both exponents and the order of operations seems to be improving. I decided on the weekend that order of operations is really the crucial foundation they need to build on. If that is not solid, the rest will fall apart.
Next, they worked on this question in groups:
The conversations were really interesting to listen to. Many groups took our calculators only to find that they weren't helpful as the question asked the expression to be simplified, not evaluated. I'm not sure how much this shows, but this is our consolidation.
I am being very intentional about saying "simplifies to 1" and not "cancels".
We broke things up a little to state each exponent law individually.
We had a little time left to try putting it all together before summarizing.
Though it seemed a bit rushed to me, we focused on understanding, not memorizing rules. Hopefully the practice they will get over the next couple of snowy days will serve them well.