## Thursday, April 20, 2006

### Cool Facts

We found a great way of getting a sense of relative sizes of BIG things today. One of my students told me that she was reading her math text the other night. First I thought she was joking, like, "I was sooooo bored, I actually read my math book". But she was serious (woot woot). She mentioned a cool thing she learned.

In our text they compare a million (10^6), a billion (10^9), and a trillion (10^12) with the following questions. Now, I couldn't figure out a fast way of putting a drop down menu with the answers here, so I'll put the answers in the comment section.

1. How much time is encompassed in a million seconds? (in hours or days or years) ..... don't use a calculator, just go by gut feeling.

2. How much time is encompassed in a billion seconds? (again, no calculator ....)

3. How much time is encompassed in a trillion seconds? (drop that calculator!)

How cool is THAT .... and how mind bending.

#### 3 comments:

1. 1. 11.6 days

2. 31.7 years

3. 31,709 years

2. And yet the government is in debt in the trillions.

My gut aimed for weeks at first. Days is better. I remind my MathCounts kids to ponder is an aswer of 10 gallons for a swimming pool sounds accurate. Or a millions gallons. I really don't know the number of gallons in a typical public pool.

3. Anonymous5:31 AM

Oh, I like that question. I don't have a good sense of how many gallons in a swimming pool. Or .... if anything is given in metric, what's a reasonable size? Like for cereal boxes, if you're given some choices of cm^3, what would be a reasonable answer?

Ms. Cookie