TKSST is taking a short summer break. Become a member to support our August return
The Kid Should See This

2ⁿ, a story of the power of numbers from the 1961 Mathematica exhibit

In 1961, an interactive exhibition called Mathematica: A World of Numbers… and Beyond inaugurated the new science wing at Los Angeles’ California Museum of Science and Industry. Sponsored by IBM, it was an innovative exhibit designed by husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, and lucky for us, it included five short animations that explored a handful of math concepts.

This favorite is an old tale set in a palace in India. What happens when you double the grains of wheat on each square of a chessboard? Watch 2ⁿ – “a story about the exponential growth of numbers raised to powers.”

wheat grains on a chessboard
wheat grain pile
calculating wheat grains
Relate reading: Mathematica at

And in TKSST’s collections, don’t miss this iconic Eames film: Powers of Ten.

via Tinybop.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

The makers of the SAVE plug-in are no longer supporting it. For site speed and security, I've chosen to discontinue its use. If you have saved videos, please back them up with browser bookmarks, Pinterest, or another page saving tool, before they disappear in May 2021. Thank you.
This video was posted 7 years ago.

Watch more videos about...



🌈 Watch these videos next...

How to draw yourself as a Peanuts character

Rion Nakaya

7 x 13 = 28, according to Abbott & Costello

Rion Nakaya

How does this mathematical card trick work?

Rion Nakaya

The Story Of King Midas, a stop-motion classic by Ray Harryhausen (1953)

Rion Nakaya

Hidden Stories: Dorothy Vaughan

Rion Nakaya

Symmetry, an Eames animated short for the 1961 Mathematica exhibition

Rion Nakaya

Katherine Johnson, the girl who loved to count

Rion Nakaya

Russian Multiplication, an astonishing way to multiply

Rion Nakaya

Nutrition with Animated Science

Rion Nakaya