I call it the Big Numbers Contest. The goal is for kids to think of the biggest number they can, and write it in a box on the entry form. Since they can write anything at all, the winner is not going to be the one who fills the box with a bunch of tiny 9’s – instead, I’m looking forward to seeing all sorts of interesting mathematical expressions, and cracking my head to figure out how big each one is!
If enough people enter, I’ll declare a winner from each grade level from 1 to 7, and send out some nicely-printed certificates. (I decided that offering a cash prize would hurt, rather than help.) Then, I’ll re-write the contest page into a game page, suggesting how a teacher could organize a class-wide “big numbers contest” as an interesting, open-ended, project for their creative charges.
So, download the entry form, photocopy it, and get your kids onto it! Entries should be in the post by October 20, and should reach me by October 27. I hope these dates fit in well with your kids’ academic timetable!