(Repeat Method: It works with negative powers too.)
(rewrote part mentioning snap and removed unnecesary and distracting inline scratch block.)
Line 3: Line 3:
'''2<sup>3</sup> = 2 * 2 * 2 = 8'''
'''2<sup>3</sup> = 2 * 2 * 2 = 8'''
Many Scratchers have requested a block for calculating exponents,<ref>http://scratch.mit.edu/discuss/topic/15646/</ref> but such a block does not yet exist. [[Snap! (programming language)|Snap!]] and other [[Scratch Modification|Scratch modifications]] have a <sb>(() ^ ()::operators)</sb> [[Blocks|block]].
Many Scratchers have requested a block for calculating exponents.<ref>http://scratch.mit.edu/discuss/topic/15646/</ref> Such a block does not yet exist in scratch, but it is included in some [[Alternatives_to_Scratch|scratch alternatives]], such as [[Snap! (programming language)|Snap!]].
==Methods for Calculating Exponents in Scratch==
==Methods for Calculating Exponents in Scratch==

Latest revision as of 18:27, 2 March 2020

Solving exponents is the process of multiplying a number (the base) by itself a number (the power) of times. For example:

23 = 2 * 2 * 2 = 8

Many Scratchers have requested a block for calculating exponents.[1] Such a block does not yet exist in scratch, but it is included in some scratch alternatives, such as Snap!.

Methods for Calculating Exponents in Scratch

There are multiple workarounds for solving exponents in Scratch.

Repeat Method

Note Note: This method can only be used with whole number powers.
when flag clicked
ask [What is the base number?] and wait
set [1st# v] to (answer)
ask [To what power?] and wait
set [2nd# v] to (answer)
set [ans v] to (1)
repeat ([abs v] of (2nd#))
set [ans v] to ((ans) * (1st#))
if <(2nd#) < [0]> then
set [ans v] to ((1) / (ans)) // a quick workaround for negative powers
say (join [The answer is: ] (ans)) for (2) secs

How it Works

  • The Variable "1st#" is the base number. This is the number that will be multiplied by.
  • The Variable "2nd#" determines how many times to repeat the multiplication.
  • The variable "ans" is the answer, which is the number 1 multiplied by "1st#", "2nd#" times.

Logarithmic Method

The logarithm method is much faster than the repeat method, but can not be used with negative bases.

(round ([10 ^ v] of ((power) * ([log v] of ([abs v] of (base))))))


(round ([e ^ v] of ((power) * ([ln v] of ([abs v] of (base))))))

How it Works

  • The variable "base" is the base and the variable "power" is the power, or the number of times the base is multiplied. The reported value is the answer.
  • The math works because n * log m = log mn and 10log mn = mn.

Special Cases

These are some cases that the above method will fail to calculate correctly:

  • The base is 0: Since log 0 is undefined, have an if-else that gives 0 for the answer if the base is 0, as long as the power is positive. The answer 1 should be given for 00 so that it does not give an error then.
  • The base is negative: If one wants to be able to do something such as xp where p is an integer, and they want to allow x to be negative, then the solution with logarithms will not work, because log(-1) is undefined (there is no solution to 10x = -1). Ways to solve this are:
    • Use the loop multiplication method, and even just use loop multiplication / division whenever the power is an integer.
    • Factor out the negative and find the answer for the absolute value of the exponent, then divide 1 by it if the exponent is negative. Also, it's a good idea to use an if block for whether p is odd or even ( if p mod 2 = 0 then p is even).
set [result v] to ([abs v] of (base)) // used to spread out math over two lines
set [result v] to ([e^ v] of ((power)*([ln v] of (result)))::operators)
if<(base) < [0]> then
set [result v] to ((1) / (result))
Note Note: Positive rational exponents, e.g. 10½ do work. Thus, this can be used to find N-roots of numbers.

Editing Scratch

Archive.png This article or section documents something not included in the current version of Scratch (3.0). It is only useful from a historical perspective.
See also: Blockmaking FAQs

Scratch can be modified to add a block which solves exponents. This is simplest to do in Scratch 1.4 and previous versions. The block specification is:

('%n ^ %n'						r	exp:of: - -)

and the method is:

exp: b of: n
	^ b raisedTo: n


  1. http://scratch.mit.edu/discuss/topic/15646/