To express numbers in scientific notation on your calculator, you should always use the EE key (EXP key on some calculators). Some calculators will insert a small capital E, others will display the exponents on the far right side of your calculator display. Remember that the E means “times ten to the…”. You should never write scientific notation numbers on your calculator with the caret key (such as 3.1 x 10^4).

Note that a number like (2.3)^{4} is not in scientific notation! It is not the same number as 2.3 x 10^{4}. The number in red is equal to 2.3 x 2.3 x 2.3 x 2.3. The number in blue is equal to 2.3 x 10,000. So for a number like (2.3)^{4}, do not use the EE key.

Most scientific and graphing calculators let you change the display back and forth between regular notation and scientific notation. If you learn how to use this feature, you don’t have to count zeroes when you get an answer like 0.00000571. Just convert to scientific notation and the calculator tells you the number is 5.71 x 10^{-6}.