What's bigger than a billion? Way, way bigger than a trillion? A googol! But who thought up this strange name for such a big number? A kid. More than 50 years ago, an American mathematician named Dr. Edward Kasner was trying to find a good word to describe a 1 with 100 zeros after it. So he asked his 9-year-old nephew, and googol was the result. But there's an even bigger number than a googol--a googolplex, which is 10 multiplied by itself a googol number of times. Got that? Fortunately, math can often be made simpler than a googolplex with the help of some outstanding Internet sites.

Here are the best sites for getting your schoolwork done or for just having fun.

LEVEL ONE

Ask Dr. Math: Dr. Math answers any question you have about addition, multiplication and even square roots and word problems with an explanation that's really easy to understand. Also lots of answers to math problems are already there.

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/dr.math/drmath.elem.html

Monster Math: Use your addition and multiplication to find out what happens to the monsters in the story, which comes in English and Spanish versions.

http://www.lifelong.com/AcademicWorld/MonsterMath/

Brain Teasers: Interesting math puzzles help you learn how to apply your math skills.

http://www.eduplace.com/math/brain/index.html

LEVEL TWO

Ask Dr. Math: Geometry, graphing, factoring and logic problems are just some of the areas explained. Search through other students' questions or ask your own.

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/dr.math/drmath.middle.html

The Geometry Problem of the Week: Review geometry as you solve problems and participate in an online contest.

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/geopow/

The Math Forum's Calculation Tips: Learn strategies for making rapid-fire calculations (addition, multiplication, division) in your head.

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/k12/mathtips/mathtips.html

LEVEL THREE

Ask Dr. Math: Get help with algebra, trigonometry, calculus and more by consulting the math topic archive or by e-mailing your question directly to Dr. Math.

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/dr.math/drmath.high.html

Ninth Grade Math Proficiency Test: An online multiple-choice test which explains the solution to each problem. If you choose an incorrect answer, you are told where the error was made.

http://www.lerc.nasa.gov/Other--Groups/K-12/p--test/math--pro1.html

Alvirne High School's Advanced Placement Calculus Problem of the Week: Prepare for the AP exam in calculus with this site's practice questions and a variety of online resources. You can submit your own calculus problem to add to its weekly postings--as long as you include your solution.

http://www.seresc.k12.nh.us/www/alvirne.html

Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine Department of Education, which reviews each site for appropriateness and high quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet. This week's Quest was designed by Anna Manring and Stan Woo-Sam.