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  • Dr. Robert H. Krupp

One Million Stars

One summer evening Laura, Austin, and Papa were sitting on the front porch.
“Isn’t it a lovely evening?” Papa asked.
"Yep!” replied Austin. “Look at all those stars!”
“It’s a clear night and they are so beautiful,” said Laura.
Papa said, “You know there are millions and millions and millions of stars in the sky.
There’re so many, you couldn’t count them all.”
”I’ve never tried to count them,” said Laura.
Besides stars, have you ever seen a million of anything?” Papa asked.
”I’ve seen a million grains of sand on the beach,” said Laura.
”I’ve seen and cut a million blades of grass,” Austin added.
“Have you ever tried to count to a million?” Papa asked.
“No,” said Laura. “My dad told me it would be very hard to count from 1 to 1,000,000.”
“He’s right,” said Papa. “If you started counting 1, 2, 3 . . . and counted each second, it would take over 11½ days to count to a million.
Would you two like to hang a million stars?”
“Could we do that?” asked Austin. “That’d be cool!”
“Oh yes,” said Papa. “We’ll start tomorrow afternoon. I need to prepare some things in the morning for this project.”
The next day after lunch, Austin and Laura cleaned off the table. Papa put a pile of papers on it. He handed one sheet from the pile to each of them.
“Last night I used my computer to type stars (*) on a sheet of paper. I added some features to help count them.
Look at this row of 10. A blue star is followed by a red star, blue star, red star, and so on to the end.

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I made blocks of stars, highlighting them in yellow, blue, green, and white.


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Check to see if there are 10 stars in each block.”
After a few moments Laura said, “Every block has 10 stars.”
Papa asked, “How many yellow blocks in the first row on this sheet? How many blue? Green? White?
“There are 2 blocks of each color,” Austin replied.
“So, how many stars are in the first row?” Papa asked.
"There are 80 stars in the first row because there are 10 stars in each block,” said Laura smiling.
“Now count the number of rows on the sheet. To help you,
I numbered each one on the right.”

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“I counted 25 rows,” Laura replied.
“Good,” said Papa.
“So, how many stars are on the sheet?” he asked.
The children did some writing on the back of their paper.
Austin said, “There’s 2,000 stars on this sheet because
80 x 25 = 2,000.”
Is that right?” he asked.
“Yes!” said Papa.

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Papa continued, “Look at this pile of paper on the table. It contains 500 sheets of stars. How many stars are in this pile?”
After figuring on the back of her sheet, Laura said, “1,000,000,000 stars on the sheets in this pile since
2,000 x 500 = 1,000,000,000.”
“Excellent!” said Papa smiling. ”Put your sheets back on the pile so we’ll have 1,000,000 stars.
Let’s go outside with our stars and some masking tape.
Austin, you’ll give pieces of tape to Laura.
Laura, paste one sheet to the garage starting down low. Paste another sheet above the first, and so on, until you’ve put one slightly above your head.
After that, we’ll move over and attach another column of stars next to the first one.
We’ll keep on until we finish hanging 500 sheets.
Eventually, we’ll have hung up a million stars. “
Two hours later the stars were hung.
“Thanks, Papa!” said Austin.
“It took some time to hang the million stars, but this was fun!” Laura said with a smile.


NOTE: Go to VIDEO TAB on this website. Find The Trail of a Million Stars and walk with children and adults along the trail in the Bishop Museum in Bradenton, Florida.

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