Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from akaila, a student:

can 1trillion rice grains fit in a classroom with the area of 144.4m^3


I think you mean the volume of 144.4m3.

Metres are large units to measure a grain of rice so I am going to change the units to millimetres. There are 1000 millimetres in a metre so

144.4m3 = 144.4m3 × (1000)3 mm3/m3 = 144 400 000 000 mm3.

Suppose the grains of rice are cubes so that you could pack them in with no space between them. Divide 144 400 000 000 mm3 by a trillion to see how large your "cubic grain of rice" can be. This size calculation will be in cubic millimetres so take the cube root to find the side length of your "cubic grain of rice". How does this compare to an actual grain of rice?


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