City of Surprises

by Laura Overdeck

Our story about wacky Accident, Maryland has led to some great new questions about towns. Tanisha T. told us about another surprise town name — and that’s what it’s called! Surprise, Arizona was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Stetler, who said she’d be “surprised” if that tiny spot in the desert ever became a real town. Well, today more than 115,000 people live there! Meanwhile, our friends at Mulroy Tech Hub in Denver asked, what makes a city a city? Well, it depends who you ask, but most US states call any town that has at least 1,500 people a city. Denver and Surprise count as cities, but how about where you live? Do the math to find out!

Wee ones: A town has lots of smaller places: people’s homes. How many people live in your home? Count them up — and remember to count yourself!

Little kids: When the first 5 people joined Flora Mae in Surprise, Arizona, how many people did it have then? Bonus: If a place needs at least 1,500 people to be a city, does a place with 2,000 people count as a city?

Big kids: How about a place with 800 people? Does that count as a city? (A city has at least 1,500 people.) Bonus: San Jose, California has about 1 million (1,000,000) people. How many 2,500-people cities could you carve out of it at most? (Hint if needed: How many people do 4 cities of 2,500 each have?)











Wee ones: Different for everyone…count up the people living in your home!

Little kids: 6 people. Bonus: Yes! 2,000 is more than 1,500.

Big kids: No, 800 is less than 1,000, so it has to be less than 1,500. Bonus: 400 little cities! 4 cities would have 10,000 people, so 40 cities would have 100,000, and therefore 400 cities would have 1,000,000 people.

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