Thursday, June 20, 2013

# Teaching Pi

Did you know March 14 is Pi Day?   Celebrate with some living math fun!  If you can get your hands on Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, it makes a great starting point to the celebration.

A lesson idea:  This lesson is a quick and easy way to demonstrate Circumference = 3.1416 x diameter.  Taking several sized lids, I asked the kiddos to trace five different lids on a piece of plain legal-sized paper. Using a centimeter tape measure, I asked them to measure the circumference and diameter of each lid and jot that down on their papers beside the appropriate drawing.

Using their measurements, I held my fingers on the tape measure to show the circumference and diameter of each lid. I asked them to think about what they noticed that was similar about each of the measurements. (The diameter is always about 1/3 of the circumference. You can show this by folding the tape measure in thirds each time.)

Once they saw this “almost 1/3″ measurement concretely, I told them there was a way to figure out the circumference accurately every single time. All they need to know is the diameter of the circle. I secretly held a calculator and asked them to give me the diameter of several of their lids. I would multiply the diameter by Pi (3.1416) and get their circumference measurement every time.

This, piqued their interest of course, and they couldn’t wait to find out the magic trick. So, I showed them the formula  (C = ╥ · d) and allowed them to use the calculator to find several circumference measurements around the house.  It was a great lesson inspired from Family Math, pg. 97!

Other lesson ideas:

These are mostly appropriate for middle school and older children, but be sure to check them out even if you have an upper elementary student.

• Best Pizza Buy – money comparison activity(at the bottom of the PDF), plus another worthy idea or two
• Let Them Eat Pi – scavenger hunt, trivia research fun, cake activity and more

4 Responses to “Teaching Pi”
1. MissMOE says:

We are quite excited about Pi Day–we are actually celebrating all week. I’ve pinned some of the things we plan to do this week at: http://pinterest.com/lifeofeasier/pi-day/

2. MissMOE says:

Great activity! I would love for you to link your post up at my Pi Day Link up.