What’s the biggest number of people you’ve seen at once? Where were you? Did you see a river of people on a city sidewalk, or an even bigger crowd in a stadium? It may have looked like a lot, but it was only a tiny part of all the people in the world. There are about 8 billion of us, or 8,000,000,000. But we aren’t spread out evenly around Earth. More than 1 billion 400 million (1,400,000,000) live in China, and nearly as many people live in India. If you count by continents, 1 billion people live in Africa, while Antarctica has more penguins than people. We don’t even have time to count all those people one by one…a billion seconds is almost 32 years, and it would take even longer to say all the numbers!
Wee ones: How many people live in your home? Count them up if you can!
Little kids: If there are about 4 billion people in Asia and about 1 billion people in Africa, roughly how many billions of people live on those 2 continents together? Bonus: If Earth has 8 billion people, how many ears do they all have?
Big kids: A billion is a thousand millions. The U.S. has about 300 million people. How many more does the U.S. need to reach 1 billion? Bonus: If the U.S. has about 300 million and India has about 1 billion 200 million, how many times as populous is India? (Hint if needed: 1 billion 200 million is the same as twelve hundred million, or 1,200 million.)
Wee ones: Different for everyone…try counting the people in your family, including yourself!
Little kids: 5 billion people. Bonus: 16 billion ears.
Big kids: 700 million more. Bonus: 4 times as many people.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.