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One in a Million: Large and Small Numbers

kit #101

Help your students grasp an understanding of what one in a thousand or one in a million is. Using pennies and the “power of 10” in this simple and interesting activity, students visualize that a million is a very large number. They conduct two different serial dilution activities that will impress upon them how very small numbers can have potential significance. Students perform a ten step 1:10 serial dilution using a colored “contaminant” then a colorless "contaminant" to make weaker and weaker solutions from 1:10 to 1:10,000,000,000. Using a chemical indicator, students next test the colorless "contaminant" for the presence of the contaminant. Serial Dilution is a valuable math-science link. It can be used to teach powers of 10, proportions and concepts of scale. You may want to introduce this technique prior to an inquiry investigation. The kit contains all materials (except the pennies) needed for 32 students, working in teams of 2.


  • Understanding numbers: Understand and use ratios and proportions to represent quantitative relationships
  • A: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • B: Properties and changes of properties in matter
  • F: Populations, resources, and environments, science and technology in society

Content List in One in a Million: Large and Small Numbers is as follows:

Quantity Description
32 Student Worksheets and Guides
1 Teacher's Guide with MSDS
16 Serial dilution trays
16 Plastic Droppers
2 Colored contaminant (Red Dye), Drop control bottle
2 Colorless Contaminant, Drop control bottle
2 Indicator Solution
16 Water Bottles (Empty)
Number of students
Number of groups
Maximum 16 groups per period

To complete this kit requires one ~50-minute class period.

Title Item # Price Quantity
One in a Million: Large and Small Numbers 101 $133.85
One in a Million: Large and Small Numbers REFRESH-A-KIT 101-RC $32.20