## Powers of Ten

## Charles and Ray Eames’ classic short film illustrates the magnitude of scale by visualizing exponential powers.

**Tell me more. **“Powers of Ten” illustrates the idea of scale in an elegant 9-minute film that begins with a close-up shot of a picnic and expands to the scale of the universe at a rate of 10-to-the-tenth meters every ten seconds. Then, in reverse, we zoom into the structure of a single atom. Charles and Ray Eames, known for their radical contributions to modern furniture and industrial design, brought a curiosity, joy and simplicity to their work that pervades this piece.

**Classroom Applications: **Driven by a question about the “relative size of things” and the significance of adding a zero to any number, “Powers of Ten” invites us to consider how we might illustrate these ideas ourselves. How might a math or science class remake this film while studying exponential powers? If this film is an example for how a complex concept might be explained in simple terms, how could it inspire students who are invited to make an educational film themselves? A social studies teacher might introduce this film in a conversation about cartography and scale, and a design teacher might use it to discuss different solutions in large and small contexts.

**Go Further**

- Find more inspiration at http://blog.powersof10.com/