The significant figures of a number are the digits which contribute to its accuracy and precision. This includes all digits other than leading zeros, trailing zeros indicating the scale of a number, and any digits introduced beyond the amount of digits in the original number.

### Learning Objectives

**Summary:** Learning Objectives

Students will be able to…

- Apply a working definition of answering with three significant figures.
- Show that they must keep more than the number significant figures they intend to answer with during intermediate calculations.
- Recognize that a complete algebraic solution reduces the error caused by significant figures of intermediate calculations.

## BoxSand's Resources

### Text

Example: 37.12 meters has 4 significant figures if measured at centimeter scale. For our class, the general rule is to keep 4 significant figures throughout your calculations, or 5 for exponentials and logarithms. Your answer should use 3 significant figures.

### Video

Significant Figures (3 min)

## Web Resources

### Text

### Videos

**Khan Academy**video on significant figures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCJ76hz7jPM

Another **Khan Academy** video on significant figures.

### Simulations

Let us know if you have any ideas for simulations!

## Practice

### Practice Problems

## Problem Solving Help

### Tips and Tricks

Significant figures are weird. The answer to the question: "How many significant figures should I use?" is usually the same number as given in the problem. If you use more, then you being more accurate than the problem defined in the first place, and are "lying" about how accurate your calculation is. If you use fewer, then you are losing out on potential accuracy.