Last but not least – we’re rounding out our ePIc Pi Week guest posts with Jamie from MissMathDork! Jamie is the math specialist/math coach at a middle school with grades 5th thru 8th, so she’s sharing her favorite Pi Day Activities for Middle School – including how to introduce pi to students who haven’t been exposed before! Don’t forget to enter the giveaways at the very end
Hey there! It’s Jamie from MissMathDork! I’m so incredibly excited to be a part of the ePIc Pi week Celebration!! Jennifer definitely saved the best activity for last (or maybe I’m just a wee bit partial)!
As a self-proclaimed math DORK it should be no surprise to you that Pi Day is basically the equivalent to Christmas in my house (my dad – who doesn’t have a math bone in his body – even calls me every year to wish me happy Pi day!). Each year there has to be a new Pi Shirt (this year I made my own!) and there HAS to be some fun activities! As my school is 5-8 (I teach all 4 of those grades!), and 5th graders haven’t been exposed to pi, I’ve come up with a few different activities to reach all levels of students. That’s when the chains came in! *sings* “chain, chain, chaaaaaaaaaaaaaain” YEAH! Chains….interlocking circles, get it?!!!
For my 5th grade kiddos (and this could easily work with grades lower than 5 – and higher than 5 – without needing adaptation! YEAH EASY!) we needed to VISUALIZE how random pi is! We decided to do that with color! For the Pi Chain, I went to Michael’s and purchased tons of fun color paper! YES, I splurged! I bought fun double sided, double colored card stock and bright, vibrant normal paper. I ended up cutting all the digit strips in half to make them about 5 inches long instead of 10 inches. This really helped make the Pi Chain more sturdy (and having the strips pre-cut meant there was no time wasted!) Last year, the chain was a huge hit. In 4 class periods, with only a portion of class (about 90 minutes total) spent on creating the chain, we were able to join 1000 links together. The kiddos have loved noticing the patterns, errrr… lack of patterns in the digits. We ended up taking the “final” product and placing it in a very public location with a fun sign. Let’s just say the color brought MANY eyes wanting to know what was going on. The chain was a great way to brighten an area of the school, bring PI-awareness, and show off our new creation!
For my 6th – 8th grade kiddos, who have been exposed to pi, needed a bit more math content. They too, wanted to make a chain, they just are being held accountable in a different way! They spent their days working on a Area and Circumference Chain activity. Because the activity was tiered, it allowed access for all students – those who needed whole numbers in their operations, decimals in their operations, multi-step of switching between radius and diameter or a combination of those options. Printing each of those chains on a different color also allowed for students to easily grab the tier they needed OR to add point values (tier 1 =1pt, tier 2 = 2pt, etc.). Using the point variation, you could tell students they needed to complete 20 points worth or problems, or see which team could get to 100 points first. Lots of fun ways to change it up depending on what would work best for your students.
If you’d like to check out some other PI Activities that I have, you might want to check out a post on my blog HERE
Whatcha think? Want to try one or both of my chain activities in your own classroom? I’m going to give away 3 sets of BOTH activities Sunday night! Enter and they could be yours!