Any idea what’s going on here? In case fuzziness is an issue, the question is “What is the biggest multiplication that you know without thinking very much about it?”

Also, I anticipate getting some flack for the wording of this question being potentially confusing. I don’t disagree, necessarily, but I want to offer a partial defense of the question. First, I had been reading the TERC curriculum and they make a point of not saying “multiplication facts,” instead always saying “multiplication combinations.” I haven’t wrapped my head around what makes sense to me, so I punted on the question, figuring that I’d be there to help kids figure out what it meant. And I did, and everybody else offered answers that made sense. Most importantly, the question served it’s purpose: some kids wrote “8 x 8” while others wrote “1,000,000,000,000,000,000 x 10.”

• Michael Paul Goldenberg

Did you want to know the multiplication problem they could think of that had the biggest answer, or the multiplication problem with the biggest answer that they could actually state. That is, would 10^365 * 365^365 suffice, or did you expect the product?