Idea for First Day of School

June 24, 2006

Give each student a strip of paper which as number line from 0 to 1 with the half-way marks (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.) on it but unlabeled. Walk them through labeling the points at least through 1/16. Then ask them to think about the pattern they’ve seen, and think about the next numbers in the sequence. Ask how large they think the lower number will get. Assuming they realize that it will never end, ask if they know what the word “infinity” means. (“Infinity is the state of being greater than any finite (real) number however large.” – Wikipedia) Ask them to pick up their paper; then tell them that in a way, they are holding infinity in their hands.

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