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What Does One TRILLION Look Like?

 Today, some of the Grade 2s were talking with Mr. Weber about black holes.  We learned that some black holes are a million times as large as our sun. Have you ever wondered what a really big number looks like?  Like a million, a billion, or even a TRILLION?  It’s kind of difficult to imagine.

During our conversation, Mr. Weber found a really cool website that shows us different amounts of (American) money, and how much room it would take up if it was made up of $100 bills.  We’ll start with one $100 dollar bill (currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation). Most everyone has seen them, slightly fewer have owned them.


A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2″ (1.25 cm) thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily.


Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

$1,000,000 (one million dollars)

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet…

$100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars)

And $1 BILLION dollars… now we’re really getting somewhere…

$1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars)

Next we’ll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s a one followed by 12 zeros.

You ready for this?
It’s pretty surprising.
Go ahead…
Scroll down…
Ladies and gentlemen… I give you $1 trillion dollars

$1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars)

Notice those pallets are double stacked…and remember those are $100 bills.  And look how small the man is in the corner!

So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase “trillion dollars”… that’s what they’re talking about.  WOW!

For another interesting example, click here to have a look at The MegaPenny Project.  It shows you how enormous amounts of money would look if they were made up of just pennies.  (Do you even remember what pennies are?!)

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Filed under Enrichment, Fun, Grade 2

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