Counting in Time

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You’ve heard of Google, but have you heard of a googol? It’s a really big number. To help you understand scale, this activity explores how long it would take to count to really big numbers.

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Counting in Time

  1. 1. Have you ever heard anyone say that the largest number in the world is a googol? A googol is 10100 , or a 1 followed by 100 zeros. This is actually not the biggest number in the world, though; there are bigger ones. The largest named number is a centillion, which is 10303 , or a 1 followed by 303 zeros! It’s probably obvious to you that these are both really big numbers. Writing big numbers a lot easier because you can use scientific notation. Scientific notation saves you from having to write all those zeros. But what about counting big numbers like these? There is no shortcut like scientific notation for actually counting big numbers, so how long would it actually take? With your partner, fill out the Counting in Time worksheet, which asks you to calculate how long it would take to count to six different numbers by counting one number per second. You can fill in the number of seconds for each number, and then fill in the minutes, hours, and days it would take to count each number, when appropriate. Once you’ve finished, your teacher may ask you to share some of your answers with the class. You may also be asked to explain what you think this exercise shows about scale. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 1.3 COUNTING IN TIME
  2. 2. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 1.3 COUNTING IN TIME Complete the 5 highlighted boxes below by determining how long it would take to count to these different numbers by counting one number per second. 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000 Seconds Minutes Hours Days Weeks

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