Happy Belated Pi Day!
For those who may not know, yesterday was International Pie Day - March 14th - 3.14 - the third month and fourteenth day. I know this post is a little late, but hopefully teachers still planning to explore Pi this year with their students will enjoy some of these ideas.
Yesterday I took the afternoon off to visit my daughter's Grades 6/7 class (Megan is in a different District that I am). Megan sees me leaving for classrooms daily with all sorts of interesting materials and is always curious about what I do with students. I figured before she gets to high school, where she won't want me setting foot on the premises, I would take the opportunity to ask if I could come and visit her class to explore Pi with them. Both she and her teacher were open to this idea.
I began reading aloud Sir Circumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan. I wanted to activate students' background knowledge and initiate some new mathematical vocabulary for some students who may be unfamiliar with the following terms - radius, diameter, and circumference. Next we had a class discussion about what they know and wonder.
There were a couple of students that had a great deal of knowledge, while others had no background experiences with this topic. I was thrilled when one student mentioned the word "ratio". He commented that he knew there was a ratio that was connected to the parts of a circle. This was an outstanding segue to our learning intention for the lesson: Today we are going to explore what relationships exist between the parts of a circle.
Once the learning intention was clear, students did a turn and talk and revoiced our purpose. Next I went over each learning exploration. I provided the four learning opportunities below.
Using calculator adding tape, students measured the circumference of different circles (many different circular lids were provided). They cut this measurement. Next they overlaid this measure on the circle and cut the measure of the diameter. They did this as many times as they could. What they noticed was that with each circle they were able to remove the diameter approximately three and a bit times. We provided staplers so they could join the parts together to keep for reference.
The students had about 30 - 40 minutes to engage with the different provocations. Students worked in pairs or groups of three, as it was important that they discuss their ideas, learn from each other, and have enough helping hands to iterate and measure. Students chose which learning opportunity they wanted to begin with and moved freely between explorations.
We ended the lesson by gathering back together as a group and discussing what we noticed, what generalizations we were beginning to make, and any lingering questions they had. Students completed an exit slip, responding to "What did you learn today?"
Lastly, we all enjoyed some tasty pie with ice cream and watch a video that summarized some of the ah-ha's we had during the lesson.
Below is a copy of my plan and the exit slips"
I am a Numeracy Helping Teacher with the Surrey Schools District. Each day I am thankful for being able to work with amazing students and teachers in an area I am passionate about ~ Mathematics!
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