If you could fold a piece of paper 42 times, it would reach the moon!


Real World Math Discussions

If you could fold a piece of paper 42 times, you would reach the moon
Photo from Physics Central: Physics Buzz blog.

A colleague of mine, Leigh Ann Austen had sent on an article titled: If you could fold a piece of paper 42 times, it would reach the moon and suggested I bring it up to my math class. What a great way to get students thinking at the start of a lesson involving exponential growth since each fold would provide double the thickness.

As OMG-Facts.com cites:

… One page is about 0.01 centimeters high … The moon’s average distance from earth is 384,000 kilometers away …

With this in mind, your students could begin the inquiry process by taking what they know and attempting to find some sort of pattern like:

# of Folds Thickness (cm)
0 0.01
1 0.02
2 0.04
3 0.08
4 0.16
5 0.32

Some guiding questions:

Is this claim factual? Can we find an easier way than using a table to test the validity?

I’m sure students would engage in a pretty interesting discussion and would be willing to provide some insight into their thinking…

To see the original article, click here.



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