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The Life and Art of Pi

Today I welcome Corinne Jacob as my guest blogger.  She is a fan of Go Figure who contacted me via e-mail, and as a result we began corresponding. Since she spells her first name just like my granddaughter does, we had an immediate connection.

Corinne is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they are having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. She loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning.

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Math, after years of being relegated to the role of a heartless monster, has slowly begun to get an image makeover and is getting cooler by the day with fun math games and even days that are dedicated to math concepts like Pi Day, which is celebrated on March 14 of every year.  It is especially significant this year as the date format is 3/14/15 (mm/dd/yy) and at the time 9:26:53, we got the pi (π) sequence – 3.141592653!


Life of Pi

Students will be excited to learn about the mathematical constant Pi, which is represented by the Greek letter π. It is defined as the ‘ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle.’ What is it that sets π apart from the rest? The value does not change even if the size of the circle does. Though it is not a recurring decimal, its decimal form does not end; that is, it is an infinite decimal. Did you know that so far 10 trillion digits have been discovered?

Students will meet π when they start learning to calculate the area and circumference of a circle. It makes an appearance in the formula: A= πr2


Art of Pi

Once students learn about this old stalwart of the math world, they can have fun creating art around π.

Pi Woods

In this activity, students can represent the π sequence with colored Popsicle sticks and decorate it like the woods. Ask your class to take the first 10 numbers of π = 3.141592653. Paint ten sticks in different colors but assign one color for each number. For instance, 3 is blue, 1 is orange, and so on. Students can then glue these sticks in the correct π sequence. Using their thumbs and some green paint, they can create leaves around these sticks. They can also collect small leaves from the garden and glue them around.


Pi number” by J.Gabás Esteban is licensed under CC by 2.0

Pi Poem

Taking the first few digits of π, say 3.1415, students can write a poem in this order:

3 word word word
1 word
4 word word word word
1 word
5 word word word word word

Or they can also rearrange an existing poem or rhyme to fit the π sequence such as:
3 hey diddle diddle
1 the
4 cat and the fiddle
1 the
5 cow jumped over the moon

Pi” by fdecomite is licensed under CC by 2.0

Pi Collage

Students can create a collage with the π numbers. They can take as many as they want; here are 10,000 of them! They can cut them out from magazines, newspapers, drawings and glue them onto construction paper in any order they like to create a colorful collage of π numbers.

These are just a few of the ways in which students will retain this number. And don’t forget to mark your calendar so that you can plan something cool for Pi Day!


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