Yesterday my younger son and I talked about why the set of rational numbers has the same size as the set of positive integers. That project is here:
Today we followed up on that project by taking a look at why the set of real numbers is larger. First, though, I wanted to tie up one loose end from yesterday. Unfortunately, though, I left things a little too open ended and we didn’t tie up that loose end in one video:
Now that we understood that we’d over counted (in some sense) yesterday, I wanted to show him why that over counting didn’t really change the proof. I also wanted to show him one real curiosity that comes up with infinite sets:
Now we moved on to talking about real numbers. I suspected that he’d seen Cantor’s diagonal argument before (and he had), so I asked him to sketch the proof. He got most of the way there:
Finally, we tied up the loose ends from his summary of Cantor’s diagonal argument and talked about one other surprise with infinite sets.
We had a great time talking about infinity this weekend. It amazes me that kids can get their heads around ideas in math that were absolutely cutting edge just over 100 years ago!