How Big is 52 Factorial?

52 factorial (or 52! in math notation) represents the number of ways a deck of cards can be shuffled.  It’s equal to 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x 48 x … 3 x 2 x 1.  (Basically multiply all the whole numbers between 52 and 1 together.  The video above (from 14:20 to about 18:30) explains how large 52 factorial is.


BEFORE YOU WATCH THE VIDEO make a hypothesis about how long 52! is in seconds.  Is it an hour?  A day?  A week?  A year?  A lifetime?   A number of lifetimes?  Explain your reasoning in your hypothesis.  Make this a paragraph.

Then watch the video above (from 14:20 to 18:30 at least — watch the whole thing if you want to see some cool card tricks) and write a second paragraph that compares the actual length of 52! seconds to your hypothesis.



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