Intermath | Workshop Support

 Write-up

Title
Folding Paper

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 a piece of paper could be folded in half fifty times, how thick would it be?

Plans to Solve/Investigate the Problem

Set up an Excel Spreadsheet to determine the thickness of the paper based on the number of folds.

Investigation/Exploration of the Problem

Set up the Excel Spreadsheet to determine the thickness of the paper with 0 folds.  The result is 0.002 inches which is equivalent to the thickness of one sheet of paper.  With 1 fold the thickness of the paper is 0.004 inches which is equivalent to the thickness of 2 sheets of paper.  The result of 2 folds is 0.008 inches which is equivalent to the thickness of 4 sheets of paper.  At this point a pattern begins to emerge.  It was determined that the number of folds would produce a thickness that was equivalent to 2 raised to the power that was equal to the number of folds.  Therefore, the thickness of a sheet of paper folded 50 times would be equal to 250.  This is equivalent to 71,079,539.57 miles!

Extensions of the Problem

Suppose that you were to drive from one stack of the paper to the other, how long would it take you to drive the distance if you traveled 60 mph?

Author & Contact
Insert name and contact information.
lparsons@rockdale.k12.ga.us