Thursday, April 30, 2009

David M. Schwartz and the Power of Ten

popcorn2 Today I will be reviewing the book, On Beyond a Million, by David M. Schwartz.

You're probably wondering what the "M" stands for?  We don't really know, but we're guessing it stands for "Math Mutant."  Get it?  He's a Mathematician and Author, and he's a bit crazy about math.

Mr. Schwartz has loved big numbers since he was a kid.  We found out about that at the Author Visit at my old school, Bell Top Elementary School. Who knows?  Maybe he is planning to visit your local school next.

You're probably waiting for me to review his book, On Beyond a Million.  So, without further ado, I will commence reviewing the book.  You shall wait no longer.  You're patience is about to be rewarded, so I will pause no longer, and I will begin to review right now, with no more pause in between.  You shall use no more waiting skills.  Ow, ouch, stop it, Mom, I'll get to the point!  Okay, what a grouch!

On Beyond a Million is an outstanding book about the powers of ten, and how numbers go on forever, and you can never reach Google or infinity.  It even has a fictional story to it about a popcorn machine going haywire that won't stop or turn off.

David Schwartz told us that his book was inspired by a story in Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey, about a donut machine that won't stop making donuts.

Did you know that it would take David M. Schwartz two and a half years to pop a million kernels of popcorn?


This is a picture of the author with 10,000 popped kernels of popcorn.  He told us that he wasn't able to bring his bag with 100,000 popcorn kernels because it was too big for the airplane.   It took him 3 months to pop that many popcorn kernels, but he decided not to make one million because it would take him 2 and a half years. 

Still, he had a picture of ONE MILLION POPPED POPCORN KERNELS!  When he visited a school in Texas, they like big things in Texas, so they surprised him with one million popped popcorn kernels.

Counting by the powers of 10 is multiplying the number you have by 10 each time.  This is useful for counting really big things like overflowing popcorn flooding the whole school.  Instead of saying 1,2, 3, 4..., you'd say 100, 1,000, 10,000, 1,000,000, ten million, one hundred million, one billion.  And you'd show this by writing 10 to the power of 6, which is one million.

Take a look at this YouTube Video, Powers of Ten.  It is really cool because it shows what happens when you move 10 times farther away, every second.  If you moved out into space, by the powers of 10, you would enter distances light years away really quickly. 

Then, they return the same way, in distances that are powers of 10 closer, until they enter the starting point, a napping picnicker.  They magnify and enter his hand, using a microscope, which is really cool!!!  They keep going until you see the nucleus of one of his cells.

I highly recommend the book and the video to people who want to read a cool book, or watch an awesome video!

More Links:

David Schwartz Website

The Magic of One Million Activity Book

Homer Price: Robert McCloskey: Books

ISBN: 0142404152
ISBN-13: 9780142404157

1 comment:

christinemm said...

How cool that you got to hear David Schwartz speak. We own a number of his math books and love them.