Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pi Day - Not Just Another Day

One of my favorite days of the year is quickly approaching.  On March 14, we get to celebrate Pi Day in math, and that's one of the best days by far.  Not only do we get to celebrate something in math and have pie, but we get to teach kids that math is more than just numbers and equations and that is cool.

At my school we have a whole afternoon devoted to Pi Day.  Each teacher at our grade level takes on 3-4 activities and the students not only rotate through activities, they rotate through the rooms, so that they get to engage in at least 9 activities each year.  Between that and the fact that almost everyone wears a Pi Day shirt, which our math director designs, the day is epic.

Here's an example of a typical set-up.  We usually have one teacher that enjoys crafts more than the others, so he or she takes on most of the craft related activities.  In their room, they may have stations related to making a paper chain with colored rings related to the digits of pi.  They may have a similar activity where students then use beads to make a necklace, key ring, or bracelet.  And finally they may have a station with a crossword or word search puzzle with terms related to pi and circles.
Our next teacher often doesn't mind a little chaos and noise in their room, so they often get the round table buffet with foods which are round.  Also in this room we often have a piano or synthesizer marked with keys as numbers and students play the digits of pi as a musical number.  As a last station this teacher might have a basic measurement station where students measure the diameter and the circumference and then try to figure out the ratio between the two - which is obviously pi.


The third teacher's room tends to be more mathematically based and has activities that line up with that premise.  In this room students may test the magical ratio with polygons just as Archimedes himself had done.  They may play with the wonder that are moebius strips and see how they react when twisted in different loops various times.  Another good activity for this room is to discover the relationship between parallelograms and circles.  Finally, if you have the time, space, patience, and responsible students, an experiment with Buffon's Needle is an interesting look at pi and probability.

These activities and many more are available in my packet, Pi Day Fun Activity, available in my TpT store, but whatever you decide to do, I hope you have an amazing Pi Day educating your students on the wonders of Pi.




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