act one

  • 1. How many pennies are there?
  • 2. Guess as close as you can.
  • 3. Give an answer you know is too high.
  • 4. Give an answer you know is too low.

act two

  • 5. What information will you need to know to solve the problem?

act three


  • 6. I have $1,000,000.00 in pennies, how big of a pyramid can I make?
  • 7. Each stack has 13 pennies which is a strange number to choose. Why do you think Marcelo Bezos chose it? [Hint: not out of an abundance of superstition.]
  • 8. Bezos says he can tell you the number of pennies in a pyramid with this equation:
    where s is the number of pennies in a stack and b is the number of pennies on one side of the square base of the pyramid. Does this work? If so, prove it.
  • 9. The Wheat and the Chessboard problem.
  • 10. Give groups of students a dollar in pennies. See how fast they can assemble seven stacks of thirteen pennies. Then ask them to use that as a sample to determine how long it would take them to build the entire pyramid.
  • 11. If Bezos now wanted to add more levels to the pyramid, what's the best way for him to do that?
  • 12. How heavy is the pyramid?