Friday, March 10 students in grades 5-8 celebrated the famous irrational number pi. While the rest of the world celebrates on March 14 (3.14), teachers decided not let DNH’s spring break stop students experience some pi fun.
For many 5th graders, this was their first time learning about pi. Mrs. Shakespeare explained unlike the decimals they learned about earlier in the year, pi is irrational. That means it does not stop or repeat a pattern. Students were surprised to learn the number has been written to millions of places and does not follow any patterns. They created art work that showed the randomness of the digits of pi.
Mrs. Hoffman’s sixth graders used their skills in solving math expressions to solve problems finding area and circumference of circles. Even though pi never stops, they discussed how many place of pi to use in their calculations. They also searched newspapers to make a pi collage, a pi scavenger hunt, and made colorful pi networks.
Seventh graders in Mrs. Eiklenborg’s room measured circumference and diameter of several round objects. After dividing the circumference by the diameter, they discovered the quotient was close to 3.14, or pi. The more precisely they measured, the closer the results matched. This activity ties into their continued study of circles later this year.
In Ms. Halstead’s room, eighth graders used a method known as Buffon’s Needle to approximate pi. Given a paper with parallel lines spaced the same distance apart as the length of a toothpick, students randomly tossed toothpicks. By doubling the number of picks dropped and then dividing by the amount that crossed a line, students got close to 3.14. The more trials recorded, the better the results. Students then listened to the story “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi.”
Fun and learning--a perfect way to lead into spring break.