City of Surprises

Our story about wacky Accident, Maryland has led to our fan Tanisha T. telling us about another surprise town name. 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, but 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.

Recent Posts

Pick a Math Skill

Pick a Topic


Daily Routine




Science and Nature


Vehicles and Transportation