I became aware of the passing of this sad milestone when a student of mine sent along this great graphic created on Google Sketchup showing a visual representation of what a trillion dollars looks like: http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html. You'll have to click through to see a trillion, but this is a billion dollars, in stacks of hundred dollar bills stacked on pallets.
The story and the graphic got me wondering what we could do with this in a math class:
- Ask students to come up with their own ways to visually represent how large a trillion dollars is in some kind of way that makes sense to a viewer.
- How much does a trillion dollars worth of hundred dollar bills weigh? How much would a trillion dollars worth of pennies weigh?
- Research the cost of other wars and the rate of inflation and compare the cost of other wars to the cost of the Iraq/Afganistan war.
- What else ???