Intermath | Workshop Support


Paper Folding 

Problem Statement
If a piece of paper could be folded in half fifty times, what would be the thickness of the folded paper? A ream (500 sheets) of paper is 2 inches thick.

Problem setup

If it was possible:  fold only one sheet of paper.  Each time fold into half.  Do this fifty times.  After all folds are made, look at the stack of pieces of paper.  How tall or thick is this stack?


Plans to Solve/Investigate the Problem

Using Excel, create a spreadsheet for calculations.


Investigation/Exploration of the Problem

Create a spreadsheet with column headings:  # of folds (0-50), thickness (#of sheets stacked), # of reams (thickness/500), inches (1=2 inches), feet (inches/12), miles.

  0 folds= 0.002 inches (1 sheet of paper)-----------20

   1 fold= 0.004 inches (2 sheets of paper)----------21

  2 folds= 0.008 inches (4 sheets of paper)----------22

  3 folds= 0.016 inches (8 sheets of paper)----------23

  4 folds= 0.032 inches (16 sheets of paper)-------- 24

10 folds=                      (1024 sheets of paper------210

50 folds=                                                       ------250 = 71,079,539.57 miles




Extensions of the Problem

Determine how long in hours and days it would take to drive the entire length of the stack of folds at 56 mph.

Author & Contact

Link(s) to resources, references, lesson plans, and/or other materials
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