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S IGNIFICANT FIGURES Essential Question: How are significant figures used in measurement?

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S IGNIFICANT FIGURES Significant Figures: The accuracy of a physical measurement is properly indicated by the number of figures used to express the numerical measure. Conventionally, only those figures that are reasonably trustworthy are retained. These are called significant figures. Essential Question: How are significant figures used in measurement?

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R ULES FOR IDENTIFYING SIGNIFICANT FIGURES 1) Any nonzero digit is a significant digit. Examples: 3.14 has three significant digits and 239.67 has five significant digits. 2) Zeros in between nonzero values are significant digits. Example: 20.4 has three significant digits. 3) Zeros to the left of the first nonzero digit are NOT significant. Example: 0.0012 has two significant digits. 4) For numbers with decimal points, zeros to the right of nonzero digits are significant. Example: Both 2.0 and 0.0020 have two significant digits. 5) For numbers without decimal points, zeros to the right of nonzero digits may or may not be significant. Example: 350 may have two or three significant digits. To avoid confusion, use a decimal point: 350. has three significant digits, 350 has two. Essential Question: How are significant figures used in measurement?

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P RACTICE ACTIVITY Look at the following examples and identify the number of significant figures. Write the number of significant figures on the lines provieded Length of a page= 22.7 cm _________ Thickness of a page = 0.011 cm _________ Distance to the sun = 149,600,000 km_________ Speed of light = 299,790 km/sec_________ Essential Question: How are significant figures used in measurement?

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