Activity: Count to a Billion

How long does it take to count to a billion?

timer   To start, see how long it takes you to count from 1 to 100
(you can time it using the Stopwatch).

It took me 25 seconds to do the counting. Use your own number of seconds in these estimates.

"I can count to 100 in 25 seconds" (put your own time here)

So ... how long does it take to count to 1,000? Answer: about 10 times 25 seconds (plus a bit extra because it takes longer to say "3-hundred..."), so that is about 5 minutes.

"To count to 1,000 takes about 5 minutes"

How long to 10,000? 10 times 5 minutes is 50 minutes. Plus a little extra (for the longer words and a little rest time) is about an hour.

"To count to 10,000 takes about 1 Hour"

How long to 100,000? 10 times 1 Hour is 10 Hours ... that is a long days work! So let us say it takes us all day (you need time to eat and sleep).

"To count to 100,000 is a Day's work"

How long to 1 Million? 10 times 1 Day is 10 Days. You can have the weekends off, so that is 2 weeks work.

"To count to 1,000,000 is 2 Weeks work"

Wow! It takes about 2 Weeks to count to a Million! But it only took 25 seconds to count to 100 ... Numbers sure get big quickly!

Even if you could count without breaks and at the same speed as you did to 100 it would still take nearly 70 hours.

Now Onwards to a Billion

How long to 10 Million? 10 times 2 Weeks is 20 Weeks. But it takes longer to say the bigger numbers, so if we go to 26 weeks, that is half a year.

"To count to 10 Million is almost Half a Year's work"

How long to 100 Million? 10 times half a year is 5 Years!

"To count to 100 Million is 5 Year's work"

And now ... how long to 1 Billion? 10 times 5 years is 50 years ... or nearly a Lifetime!

"To count to 1 Billion takes a Whole Working Life"

(Now don't get me started on a Trillion ... that is a thousand times bigger!)

How long would it take you?