Last night my daughter was working on an assignment for school. She had to write her name in big letters and decorate it. The teacher is apparently going to put the names up on the wall, to mark off an area for displayed artwork in the classroom. In an effort to make hers more interesting, my daughter started adding little math equations around the border. I was kind of half listening as she counted out loud to herself: "Two plus two equals four, four plus four equal eight", etc. As she got up to "1024 + 1024 = 2048" I started to pay more attention.
When she got to the point where she couldn't add them in her head anymore I helped her by writing down the numbers so that she could add them:
Old school math. Carry the one, etc.
Quite soon she started marveling at how large the numbers were getting. She ran out of room at 131,072, which (I had to check this) is 2 to the 17th power. I told her that this what she was doing (multiplying by two again and again), and that yes, you end up with very big numbers that way. We looked up what power gets you to a million. And she said, unprompted: "I am wowed by the power of twos." She was a bit giddy with the excitement of the whole thing, to the point of disturbing my husband, who was trying to work himself. But I loved it. And he loved it, too, once he realized what was going on.
She ended up deciding to keep that version of her name and do a different one for the classroom wall, but she took the power of two page in to school this morning to show to her teacher and classmates. This is joy of learning, my friends. When a kid just starts noodling around and discovers something that she thinks is cool. [Hey, if you just keep doubling numbers, you get to really big numbers quite quickly. Cool!] You never know where such opportunities will arise, but you can certainly notice and encourage them when they do.
Thanks for reading! I hope that some of you will find this little anecdote enjoyable.