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Students learn to express the meaning of Pi in words with this lesson
6, 7, 8
Title – What is Pi?
By – Jill M. Snyder
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 6-8
Objective: At the end of this lesson the students will be able to describe in words what Pi is and means.
Materials: different sized cylinders (one per student group), yarn, scissors, rulers.
1. Divide the students into pairs and assign them a group number.
2. Discuss with students what a diameter is and have each student group measure the diameter of their cylinder’s base. Have them cut a piece of yarn the length of the diameter.
3. Have one student from each group place the measurement on the board under their group number.
4. Now have the students take their piece of yarn (Which is the diameter) and find a starting point somewhere on the cylinder.
5 Have the students wrap their piece of string around the cylinder and see how many times it will go around.
6. Now have the second partner go up to the board and write this number next to the measurement of their diameter.
7. Have the students look at the data.
8. They will notice that everyone had a different measurement for their diameter but everyone’s yarn went around their cylinder the same amount of times.
9. Have the students brainstorm what this means and if it can happen for every circle.
10. Have students find random circles from around the classroom to see if it would work all the time.
Expected Outcomes: The students will be able to discover what Pi (an abstract concept) means and actually is.
I have done this with classes and they now will always remember what Pi means. Many of my students said “Pi is 3.14!” when I asked but they did not actually know what it meant. This lesson is great for a hands-on learning experience!
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