How much is a million? It’s big enough that teacher Kathy Johnstone and her students have been learning how big since 2004.

How Much is a Million?

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That’s when she started students collecting the plastic tabs on breadbags, as a means of visualizing large numbers. “I said I would get 1 million bread tabs before I retire,” Johnstone said.

Her retirement is two years away. But the bread tab count is only 559,000.

Johnstone and students are putting the word out; don’t throw those tabs into a landfill, send them to Columbia Crest school.

Johnstone’s students count the tabs in tens, and then hundreds, and sort them into tubs. The tubs hold various quantities,  all stackable to show just how much is a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand. She has received donations of 20,000 tabs from a local deli. Her best year the students collected 130,000.

“It’s a graphic representation of the number, and it makes it more real,” she said.

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How Much is a Million?

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