Twin Parks Montessori Schools - Preschool Manhattan, Upper West Side, New York City (NYC)

Kathy’s Insights

Insights on the Montessori method and Early Childhood Education from Dr. Kathy Roemer

Kathy’s Insights

How much is a billion?

Posted on by

Last week I was in New Mexico visiting an area that is known to have “dark sky”.  The exact location was Chaco Canyon, a National Historical Park, northwest of Albuquerque.  Dark sky refers to a night sky where the stars do not have competition from city and town lights at night.  There are fewer and fewer black sky areas in the United States.  If you haven’t been to one lately, I suggest you take your family and visit one soon.  Seeing the Milky Way as a real splash of billions of white stars across the sky is a marvelous experience.

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

The sky in Chaco Canyon before the sun was completely set.

Whether describing the vastness of the stars or the microscopic intricacies of the human body, the need to use large numbers is often inevitable. When we consider the estimated 200,000,000,000 (200 billion) stars in the Milky Way Galaxy or the estimated 150,000,000,000 (150 billion) galaxies in the universe or the estimated 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) cells in the adult human body, we are forced to use numbers so large we cannot comprehend their meaning. Here is a way to imagine these large numbers and to place some them in perspective.

Money Stacks

One way to better understand large numbers is to compare the heights of stacks of varying numbers of dollar bills. The thickness of a single one dollar bills measures .0043 inches or .0000000679 miles.

The height of a stack of 100 one dollar bills measures .43 inches.

The height of a stack of 1,000 one dollar bills measures 4.3 inches.

When your child asks “how much is a million?”

It is the height of a stack of 1,000,000 one dollar bills measures 4,300 inches or 358 feet – about the height of a 30 to 35 story building.

The height of a stack of 100,000,000 (one hundred million) one dollar bills measures 35,851 feet or 6.79 miles. This would reach from the earth’s surface to the approximate altitude at which commercial jetliners fly.

How much is a billion?

It is the height of a stack of 1,000,000,000 (one billion) one dollar bills measures 358,510 feet or 67.9 miles. This would reachPreschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side from the earth’s surface into the lower portion of the troposphere – one of the major outer layers of earth’s atmosphere.

What about a trillion?  How many is that?
The height of a stack of 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) one dollar bills measures 67,866 miles. This would reach more than one fourth the way from the earth to the moon.

The height of a stack of 100,000,000,000,000 (one hundred trillion) one dollar bills measures 6,786,616 miles. This would reach from the earth to the moon and back 14 times.

I would love to know if this is true – has anyone tried stacking this many bills?

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

The Milky Way

Leave a comment

Culture is Like Water

Posted on by

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

One of many group pictures from Montessori in Asia Conference, Beijing 2011

Last week I experienced a different culture in Beijing, China. While attending the Montessori in Asia conference, I was surrounded by people from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and India.  I observed the behavior of the people around me and used my observations to assist me in communicating with others.  I experienced new foods and customs of seating and serving.  I presented my business cards with two hands.  I wrote down my final offer when bargaining in the markets.  Although they do not usually queue up when waiting in lines, I found that people were very respectful even when space was at a minimum.

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

Some of the many new foods I enjoyed.

Charmaine Sol of Singapore City, one of the speakers at the conference, in her presentation, Infinite Horizons:  Understanding the role of culture and language in early childhood education said:

Culture is like water.  We are the fish.  Until you leave the water, you do not know that you are in it.

A school’s culture is the wide-angle view of the shared beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that characterize a school in terms of how people treat one another, people’s feelings of belonging and the traditions and schools’ activities that reflect collaboration and collegiality. It can also be felt in the natural order of things and the unwritten set of rules that adults and children live by. The feel of our culture is so powerful that most visitors experience it immediately when entering our schools. Twin Parks Montessori Schools’ culture is where the journey of learning begins.

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

Lama Temple, Beijing, China

Leave a comment

Montessori is truly an international method of teaching!

Posted on by

Today I visited two Montessori schools for children three to six years of age, in Beijing, China. One was a government operated kindergarten and the other a private Montessori school. Both had an abundance of traditional Montessori material and beautiful practical life activities. The children and teachers were enjoying working, singing and playing together. Except for the l spoken language being Chinese, I could have been visiting any country in the world!

Leave a comment