Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ten Activities for Pi Day

English: Pi Pie, created at Delft University o...Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow is Pi Day (March 14), but there's no reason it can't be celebrated on Monday, when school is in session. A little over a week ago I wrote about Ten Reasons I Love Pi. Today I want to give ten activities that can be used to promote Pi Day.

1. Have students use string to measure the circumference of circular shapes. Then have them measure the diameter of that shape. Divide the circumference by the diameter. Make sure to use a variety of sizes of circles for this activity. I found that lids from cans and containers work very well for this.

2. For younger children the above activity can be modified. It requires no measuring or dividing mathematically. Take the string, wrap it around the circular object, let's say a lid, and cut it where the string starts to overlap. Then take that string, put one end on the edge of the lid, stretch it across the middle of the lid, and cut it on the other edge of the lid. Do this a second and a third time. Everyone, whether they're using a milk cap or peanut butter lid, should get about three pieces of string cut from the larger piece. (Source: Exploratorium)

3. Make Pi Day greeting cards.

4. Write Pi Day poetry or puns or songs.

5. Get a collection of hats that have the sizes marked inside. Have the students find a hat that fits them. Measure the circumference of the student's head and divide it by Pi. Compare that number to the hat size. (Source: Exploratorium)

6. Study the history of Pi from ancient Egypt through its use today to test hardware reliability of super computers.

7. Make coupons in the shape of slices of pie. Students earn the "Pi" coupons for a variety of tasks like answering a question or getting a certain score on their homework. Coupons can then be used to "buy" a pencil or 5 extra credit points.

8. If the school allows parties, celebrate with actual pie. Apple pie, cherry pie, and pizza pie are always good choices.

9. March 14 is also Albert Einstein's birthday. A lesson about Mr. Einstein would certainly be in order on Pi Day.

10. Have students do research on Pi Day. There are many interesting websites that have tons of information. Presentations could be in the form of a speech, paper, video, or even a story.

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