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# This Week from Bedtime Math: To Infinity and Beyond!

"To Infinity and Beyond!" It sounds pretty cool, but what does it really mean? Turns out it's simpler than you'd think. Try the math and see.
on May 28, 2013

In the movie Toy Story, battery-run astronaut Buzz Lightyear thinks he can actually fly – and when he does try to fly, he yells, "To infinity and beyond!"  So what is infinity, exactly? In math, infinity means that numbers just keep on going: no matter how big a number you can think of, you can always add one and just make a bigger number. We're sorry, Buzz, but there's no way to go beyond infinity. But as we look at some other milestone numbers, we'll see that even non-infinite numbers can be pretty big and pretty cool.

Wee ones: What is the biggest number you can count to on your fingers and toes altogether?

Little kids: What is the largest two-digit number? Bonus: What is the largest three-digit number?

Big kids: While you may know "Google" as a search engine, there is actually a very large number called a "googol" that is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes! How many more zeroes does this number have than in a thousand? Bonus: How many more zeroes does this number have than in a million?

Wee ones: Count your fingers and toes!

Little kids: 99. Bonus: 999.

Big kids: 97 zeroes. Bonus: 94 zeroes.

A message from Laura:  Bedtime Math is a simple idea: we all know we should read to our kids at night, but what about math?   My husband and I have done fun, mischief-loaded math problems with our kids at night for years.  When, at age 2, our third child started hollering for his own math problem, we realized we were onto something:  In a world where so many people say "Ewww, math!", we had created a household culture where kids don't just tolerate math, they actually seek it out.  Now we email parents a fun, lively math problem every day to do with their kids – and every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!