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Pi Day Is March 14th!

March 14 is Pi Day because March is the third month, and with 14 as the day, we get the first three digits of pi - 3.14! On Pi Day, nerds, geeks, and mildly interested geometry students alike come together and wear pi-themed clothing, read pi-themed books and watch pi-themed movies, all the while eating pi-themed pie. 

Pi is an irrational number that approximately equals 3.14. It is the number you get if you divide the circumference of any circle by its diameter, and it's the same for all circles, no matter their size. You can estimate pi for yourself by taking some circular things like the tops of jars or round plates and measuring their diameter and their circumference. Then divide the circumference by the diameter, You should get an answer something like 3.14. It should be the same every time (unless you measured wrong).  In other words, π is the number of times a circle’s diameter will fit around its circumference

Actually, 3.14 is only approximately equal to pi. That's because pi is an irrational number. That means that when you write pi as a decimal it goes on forever and ever, never ending. (It is infinite.) Also, no number pattern ever repeats itself.

Usually in math, we write pi with the Greek letter π, which is the letter "p" in Greek. You pronounce it "pie", like the pie you eat for dessert. It is called pi because π is the first letter of the Greek word "perimetros" or perimeter.  What is interesting is that in the Greek alphabet, π (piwas) is the sixteenth letter; likewise, in the English alphabet, the letter "p" is also the sixteenth letter.

But hold your horses!  The fascination with pi isn't restricted to just mathematicians and scientists. Pi has a special place in popular culture, thanks to its frequency in mathematical formulas and its mysterious nature.  Even T.V. shows, books, and movies can’t help but mention π.

For example, pi gets mentioned in a scene from Twilight, in which vampire-boy Robert Pattinson recites the square root of pi.  In an episode of the Simpsons, two young girls at a school for the gifted play patty-cake and say “Cross my heart and hope to die, here’s the digits that make pi, 3. 1415926535897932384…” 

Yep, whether you like it or not, pi is everywhere. Here are a few more places it has popped up:
  1. The main character in the award-winning novel (and 2012 film) Life of Pi nicknames himself after π
  2. A circular room in the Palais de la Découverte science museum in Paris is called the pi room. The room has 707 digits of pi inscribed on its wall. (The value of pi has now been calculated to more than two trillion digits.)
  3. In an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock commands an evil computer to compute π to the last digit which it cannot do because, as Spock explains, “The value of pi is a transcendental figure without resolution.”
  4. Pi is the secret code in Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain and in The Net starring Sandra Bullock.
Here is more arbitrary information related to pi that I found interesting.
  1. If you were to print one billion decimal values of pi in an ordinary font, it would stretch from New York City to Kansas (where I live). 
  2. Only $2.30
    3.14 backwards looks like PIE. 
  3. "I prefer pi" is a palindrome. (It reads the same backwards as forwards)
  4. Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day (March 14) in 1879.
All this information about pi and circles can be found in a Pi Day Crossword. It includes two different math crossword puzzles about Pi Day and features 20 words that have to do with pi or circles. One crossword includes a word bank which makes it easier to solve while the more challenging one does not. Even though the same vocabulary is used for each crossword, each grid is laid out differently. Answers keys for both puzzles are included.

By the way, notice my "handle" of Scipi.  The Sci is for science (what my husband teaches) and the pi is for π because I teach math.

A Go Figure Debut for a Florida Teacher Who Is New!

Lisa has been a teacher for 15 years. She is also curriculum developer, educator, blogger, book lover and world traveler. She loves creating one-of-a-kind learning activities for reluctant learners. She truly believes the key to motivated students is challenging, interactive activities with a twist of fun. Her lessons are easy to incorporate to help your students find success! 

Lisa's resources range from elementary to middle school and multiple subject areas. She has taught multiple grade levels and all subject areas including self-contained and ESE. She loves to get students up and moving; so, her escape rooms are the perfect solution for engagement, fun and learning!

In addition to teaching and creating TPT resources, Lisa has two adorable one year old dogs named Reese and Nova who fill her heart with so much joy.

Lisa has two Teachers Pay Teachers Stores, but today I will just be focusing on the one called Think Tank Too. Currently Lisa has 262 resources in this store that cover social studies, science and math. Two of these resources are free. One of the freebies is a mystery picture reveal activity.

This Whole Numbers Division up To 12 Mystery Picture Reveal Activity includes 20 math problems for students to practice their math skills. Answers will result in whole numbers. It is a fun way to review division skills and fact fluency with your students. The digital activity was designed in Google Sheets™ and can be used in Google Classroom™.  It's perfect for distance learning or a fun day with technology! 

Here is how it works. Students solve a math problem and enter their answer. If the answer is correct, a piece of the image is revealed. Once all of the questions are answered correctly, the full image is revealed which displays a kid-friendly joke.

Lisa loves to create escape room activities and she has one for St. Patrick's Day. The St. Patrick's Day Escape Room gives students a chance to get out of their seats and solve clues! This escape room activity covers the following topics: St. Patrick's Day traditions and fun St. Patrick's Day statistics. No prior knowledge is needed. Lisa prefers to use this as an introduction activity but it could be used for review of a unit as well.

In case you are unfamiliar with an escape room, it is a challenge that allows students to work together solving a variety of puzzles in order to “break out” of a room. Furthermore, they are a fun and interactive way to work on the skills kids need. Escape room activities actually encourage cooperation and critical thinking skills. I have never made an escape room activity although I have been in a couple. Unfortunately, I've had little or no success of escaping.  :<(

Take some time to check out Lisa's store as I am sure her quality and reasonably priced products will add some variety to your classroom activities!

See You Later Alligator, Teaching Greater Than and Less Than

I originally posted this article back on May of 2011, but as I view products on Pinterest or on Teachers Pay Teachers, I feel a need to revisit it. I have seen alligators, fish, movable Popsicle sticks, etc. as ways to teach greater than or less than to children. Even though these may be good visual tools, to be honest, there are no alligators or even fish in mathematics.  Because many students still fail to understand which way the symbol is placed, (once in awhile I have a college student who is confused) here is a different method which you might wish to try. First of all, every child knows how to connect dots; so, let’s use that approach. 

Suppose we have two numbers 8 and 3. Ask the students, “Which number is greater?" Yes, 8 is greater. Let’s put two dots beside that number. 8 : Now ask, “Which number is smaller or represents the least amount?" You are right again. Three is smaller. Let’s put one dot beside (in front of) that number. Now have the students connect the dots.....

Free Resource
It will work every time! When two numbers are equal, put two dots beside each number and connect the dots to make an equal sign. What makes this method a little different is that the students can visually see which number is greater because it has the most dots beside it; so when reading the number sentence, most of the time it is read correctly.

In a free handout entitled Number Tiles - Math Activities for the Primary Grades a greater than and less than activity is included which can be used over and over again. It's yours for free. Just click on the title to download your free copy.

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Learn by Heart - Heart Rebus Puzzles for Valentine's Day

                                       Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Here is a fun February yet challenging activity which uses heart rebus
FREE Resource
 puzzles. It is called Hearts and Valentines. Hearts and Valentines is a FREE two page handout that features four heart rebus puzzles which represent familiar expressions that contain the word "heart". (e.g. "A Heart of Gold") Each illustration uses a picture or symbol to represent a word or phrase and requires that the students use logic and reasoning skills to solve the four rebus puzzles. (idioms)

During the month of February, put up one heart illustration as a student focus activity, OR, if you choose, display all of them up at the same time. Students are to figure out which heart expression each heart picture represents. Below are four examples from the resource. Can you figure out the answers?

Hearts and Valentines - Only $4.85
I have stumped you? Perhaps you just don't have the heart to do it or maybe your heart simply isn't in it. If you give up and want to do know the answers, you'll them on the page entitled Answers to Problems. (Look at the bar at the top of this blog post.)

As you have discovered, this can be a fun, but also very challenging Valentine's Day activity! If you would like more information about the full, 26 rebus puzzle resource, just click the title under the pictures on your right. And.... Happy Valentine's Day from the bottom of my heart!