Thursday, March 14, 2013

All About Pi

Since today is March 14 (3/14--Pi Day), we decided to celebrate by learning more about this mathematical constant.  After watching a BrainPop video on pi, listening to a Flocabulary clip on pi, and reading the book, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander, we enjoyed a blueberry pie at snack time and prepared for our afternoon activity with the high school students.

The 9th/10th grade geometry teacher and I decided to have our students collaborate on an activity that would require them to create various circles and then measure the diameter and circumference of each in order to calculate to find pi.

We met on the field, where the students gathered ropes and tied one (at a time) to a secure pole in the ground. 
The rope was pulled taut and measured (this was the radius).  We then secured the loose end of the rope to a distance measuring wheel and walked around in a giant circle.
The students took the circumference and divided it by the diameter (2 times the radius) and should have ended up with pi (3.14).   
It was a little difficult for my 5th graders to keep the rope pulled tight as they walked around in a huge circle, so we got close, but no pi.  We were very close at 3.12 and 3.13--and a few other numbers that I can't remember.
The students had a blast with this activity and were so excited to see who could "get the closest to pi."

P.S.  One of my girls got the closest, which made my boys jealous.  Everything's a competition, don'tcha know.

Happy Pi Day!

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