ePIc Week of Pi Day 5 – MissMathDork’s Pi Day Activities for Middle School

Pi Day Activities for Middle School

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 :)

MissMathDork ButtonHey 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)!

Epic Pi Day ShirtAs 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?!!!

1000 Digits of Pi Chain to Visualize the Randomness

Making a Pi Day ChainFor 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!

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ePIc Week of Pi Day 4 – Teaching Math by Hart’s Pi Day Celebration

ePIc Week of Pi Day 4 – Teaching Math by Hart’s Pi Day Celebration

ePIc Pi Week is *almost* at it’s end – but we’re not winding down yet! Today we have Kim from Teaching Math by Hart and she’s giving us the FULL run-down of her Pi Day Celebration! Even better, along with the ePIc Pi Giveaway – she’s giving away a copy of her Pi Day Celebration activities! 

Hi there! I’m Kim from Teaching Math by Hart, and I am here to tell you that I LOVE Pi Day!

I always make it my personal mission to make a big deal out of it, especially this year, as it is going to be EPIC!

Here’s a glimpse at how I celebrate Pi day:

Pi Day Celebration Schedule

Every year Pi day looks a little different. I’ve celebrated the day simply within my math classes, I’ve celebrated with my whole team, and I’ve also organized the day for a whole grade level. I’ve done small scale and large scale celebrations, and they have always been well worth the organization required. The kids (and teachers) always have a blast!

Here’s just a few of my favorite activities I do with my students throughout the day.

Pi competitionPi Memorization

I don’t think Pi day is complete without a memorization competition. A week in advance I inform students of the competition and provide them with cards with the first 100 or so digits of Pi. I had a student last year blow my class record of 170 digits out of the water, by memorizing 217! My mouth was literally on the floor!

Interesting Pi FactsPi Facts

Read interesting facts about Pi to your students throughout the day, or post them around your classroom. If there is time, use these facts to create a short trivia game that students can compete in at the end of the day.

Pi Day ChallengesPi Challenges

I do a couple of these throughout the day as quick engagement activities. One activity the kids really enjoy is making a list of all the words they can think of that start with “pi”.

Pineapple… Pieces… Pick…

“Pi”e Activities

Pi Day wouldn’t be complete without some actual pie.

Two ideas – pie eating competition, pie throwing auction – enough said!

Want to celebrate Pi Day, but don’t have the time to plan it?

Check out my full resource for a fun-filled Pi Day here.

Pi Day Celebrations

Better yet…want to win a copy?
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Happy Pi Day to all my fellow Math teachers! Have an ePIc one!

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ePIc Week of Pi Day 3 – Teaching High School Math’s Favorite Pi Day Ideas

Epic Week of Pi - Day 3 - Favorite Pi Day IdeasToday’s ePIc Week of Pi installment is by Jennifer from Teaching High School Math and she’s sharing her favorite Pi Day ideas. Don’t forget to enter the ePIc Pi Giveaway & Jennifer’s giveaway at the end! 

Teaching High School MathHello everyone, I’m so excited to help celebrate Pi Day with 4mulaFun! I’m Jennifer from Teaching High School Math and let me say…


It is such an exciting thing to celebrate. Let’s face it, no matter what we do some kids never have fun in math class. Pi Day is a chance to get everyone involved and maybe even excited :)

Free "Happy Pi Day" Stickers

Free “Happy Pi Day” Stickers

My favorite Pi Day celebration involved a series of stations where students participated in a variety of Pi related activities. I combined my Geometry classes with another teacher’s classes and we spent 2 hours in the cafeteria. We started by watching a short Youtube video about the history of Pi. Then we broke the students up into groups and they rotated through stations such as:

  1. Making a Pi Day Paper Chain
  2. Making a Happy Pi Day Greeting Card for one of the other teachers in the school
  3. Reading a Sir Cumference book and answering questions (I used Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander).
  4. Completing a Pi Day Webquest on the computer
  5. …and finally Eating a Piece of Pi that was generously donated by our local Baker’s Square.

After everyone was done eating Pi, we all gathered back together for the Pi Recitation contest. I projected the first 500 digits of pi on the big screen we have in our cafeteria. Then, students took turns seeing who could recite the most digits of pi from memory. The student who was reciting had their back to the screen and then the rest of the audience could follow along on the screen. This is, of course, something that students need to be prepared for. They have to practice!

I keep a record of the student who recites the most digits and their name goes on a plaque that we keep in the math department. The current record is 332 digits!

Ready for the giveaways? Jennifer is giving away her Pi Day Activities – Pi Webquest and Pi Day Placemat. Below that is the ePIc Pi Giveaway – don’t forget to enter both giveaways!

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ePIc Week of Pi Day 2 – Hodges Herald’s Favorite Pi Activity


We’re back with DAY TWO of ePIc Pi Week! Today we have Hodges Herald joining us, with a Pi Day activity based off of one of my favorite math themed stories! Be sure to enter both giveaways at the end, and connect with Hodges Herald on Facebook and Instagram!

Have you heard about the EPIC MATH DAY coming up in a few days?

Hodge's HeraldI’m Elizabeth from Hodges Herald and I am joining Jennifer to get this EPIC Pi Celebration off to a great start!!!!

March 14, 2015 is going to be EPIC!

I have had my shirt for some time now and I cannot wait to wear it.

Epic Pi Day Shirt

As far as my 6th grade curriculum goes, circles were taken out. I was super sad about this, BUT because I teach advanced Math and teach 7th grade curriculum as well, I get to teach circles, so YIPPEEE!!!! I love teaching it because it’s all hands on with REAL LIFE objects!!!!

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of PiFirst of all, I read about pi. Yes, I actually do a read aloud with my middle school students and they actually LOVE IT!!!! They know I used to teach elementary and they indulge me. When I read this a few weeks ago, I was being observed by our district math specialist and she commented about how intrigued they were with the book.

Next, we explore circles! I have collected a bunch of real life circles from my house. We find the diameter, the radius, and the circumference. We divide the circumference by the diameter and we get PI!!!

Then, I give them the activity Cookies, Cakes and Pi, OH MY!
I can’t get them real food because of logistics, but they say these pictures make them so hungry!

Then, I give them the activity Cookies, Cakes and Pi, OH MY!  I can't get them real food because of logistics, but they say these pictures make them so hungry!

They find the diameter, radius and circumference of these circles as well.

You can get this activity here for FREE!

You can also get the recording sheet I use for my circles, circles, circles activity for FREE here.

Happy Pi Day!

That’s not all – Hodges Herald is also giving away 3 $14 TpT giftcards in honor of 3.14!

Enter in the Rafflecopters below for her giveaway, and the ePIc Pi Day Giveaway!

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ePIc Week of Pi Day 1 – Lindsay Perro’s Favorite Pi Activity

Epic Week of Pi Day 1

Welcome to the 4mulaFun ePIc Week of Pi! All this week we’re going to have posts from teachers about how they celebrate Pi Day in their classrooms, giveaways and freebies, plus an ePIc Pi Giveaway of over $314 worth of goodies! To start us off this week, Lindsay Perro is sharing her hands-on cylinder activity. At the bottom of the post, enter Lindsay’s giveaway and the ePIc Giveaway!

Lindsay Perro's Favorite Pi Day Activity

Lindsay PerroHello 4mulaFun readers! I’m Lindsay Perro and I’m so happy to be kicking off this Epic Week of Pi! Pi Day is a holiday that only true math nerds like us can appreciate! My favorite activity to use in my classroom for Pi Day was a hands on cylinder activity. Before we got to that, I kicked off class by having students fill out a graphic organizer with some cool facts about Pi. They were then given a printable page that has the first few hundred digits of Pi. It was always so neat to give them this page because I don’t think many really understand just what it means for a number to go on infinitely!

Hands-On Pi Day Cylinder ActivityFor the hands on activity, I brought in a variety of cylinders for students to measure and find the volume of. It was a nice break from traditional worksheets and kept the students engaged since they had to actually measure everything themselves. Some of the items I brought in were a paint can, a soda can, a flower vase, shampoo bottle, etc. You can grab this activity here! In case you are unable to gather these items, the resource contains a sheet that provides students with circles to reflect the bases of the items and gives the heights.

In honor of the Epic Pi Day this year I’m raffling off a mini bundle containing my Pi Day Cylinders Activity, my Area and Circumference of Cylinders Coloring Worksheet and a $10 TPT Gift Certificate. The raffle closes Friday so be sure to enter below!

Hands-On Pi Day Cylinder Activity Raffle

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The Ins and Outs of Exit Tickets

What are Exit Tickets? How can I use them in my classroom? Read more about the ins and outs of Exit Tickets and how to use them in different methods for each of your students.

What are exit tickets? How do you use them in your classroom? What benefit do exit tickets have for students? How do you grade exit tickets? Each of these questions are concerns that I hear on a regular basis from teachers who know how much I LOVE using them!

I started using Exit Tickets in my classroom in 2011 on a random basis to quickly assess students skills. I took these as a pop quiz for students and graded every single one of them. I learned that doing them this way students HATED them! They seriously started fearing the possibility of an exit ticket showing up because it was a quick assignment that they knew was going to be graded. That was the LAST thing I wanted to do as a teacher. Many of my students are already filled with math and/or testing anxiety and this just made it worse.

What is an Exit Ticket?

An exit ticket is a valuable learning tool that teachers use to quickly determine a student’s level of understanding on a given topic. Exit Tickets are typically a sheet of paper containing a question (or questions) about the material that has been taught that day. The benefits of an exit ticket outweigh any negatives that I have seen. With the short nature of an exit ticket it allows you as a teacher quick assessment on the skill that has been taught. I totally ditched warm-ups in my classroom and replaced them with doing exit tickets at the end of class because I was able to get more information from my students this way and use those valuable first few minutes preparing our Interactive Notebooks.

Different Types of Exit Tickets

Over the course of the past few Exit Ticketsyears I have used several different types of Exit Tickets to keep things fresh in the classroom. Some of the exit tickets have been computational, a word problem that students must decipher and compute, OR an open-ended response where students must demonstrate their own thinking and express their process to get from the beginning to the end. The good thing about any of these is that they are easily turned in and checked at another time. As you can see on this open-ended exit ticket there is also a stoplight that allows students to also give input on where they think their level of understand is based on the red, yellow and green of a stoplight.

Post It, Prove It Exit Ticket StrategyAnother type of exit ticket that I created was the Post It, Prove It. I enjoyed using this method quite often because not only did it change things up for students but who doesn’t love Post Its? Not only do students get to prove their answer in a given amount of space but it also allows for confidentiality when they put their names on the back underneath the sticky part of the Post It. If you would like to prepare ahead of time you can also pre-print the question on the Post It.

Another source of exit tickets in the classrom is to use Task Cards. Mary from Teaching with A Mountain View has shared how she used them in her classroom where every student recieves the same exit ticket and then leads into a class discussion.

Using Wrong Answers

Wrong Answers? Yes! Allowing your students to improve from the wrong answers that they or their peers give will allow for a further understanding of the material. Meg from The Teacher Studio has discussed how she did this with her students and not only were they intrigued by this strategy but it also allowed them to dig deeper into their learning.

Another teacher that uses wrong answers to her benefit is Greta from MathInspiration. Check out her video as she explains the details of how they benefit the students in her classroom.

Grading Exit Tickets

Grading Exit Tickets is a uphill battle at times. There is a benefit to not grading as it allows you to get students to openly express their answer without fear of getting something wrong. When I am grading I typically use a rubric that allows students to be evaluated based on the standard and their level of mastery.

Sherrie from Middle School Math Rules talks about how she grades exit tickets in her classroom. The checklist that she uses could easily be my Formative Assessment Data Trackers. These allow for beginning, middle and end of the year assessment of each standard.

Looking for Templates

There are many different types of freebie templates on Teachers Pay Teachers and blogs. One of the latest that I have found is by Shayna of Science Teaching Junkie. You can also grab my Editable Stoplight Exit Tickets available in multiple formats.

How are you using exit tickets in your classroom? What benefits have they provided for you and your students?

Fly on the Math Teacher’s Wall: Fraction Misconceptions Blog Hop


Thank you for joining me today as part of the Fly on the Math Teacher’s Wall Blog Hop. If you have been going through the hop you probably arrived here from my buddy at Lessons with Coffee. If you are just starting the hop that is fine because we all link in a circle and you will get to hit all of the posts! The link to the next blog will be at the end of this post for your convenience.

Mulitplication of fractions is Multiplying Fractionsa concept that while introduced in fifth grade is still a struggle with many students in middle school. Many of my students came to me understanding the process to just mulitply the numerators, multiply the denominators and then simplify. While this is the “process” to get the answer this doesn’t help students understand the reasoning why they should do this.

I will admit that when I first taught the concepts when I was teaching fifth grade, I was just as guilty of only teaching the how and not the why. Over the years of teaching, and many math conferences, I learned the importance of why in education. Students who learn the why and are able to prove the reasoning behind the process will not only further understand their learning but as the concepts are built on in further years they will have a solid foundation.

So what is the why behind multiplying fractions? To figure this out we must help students relate fractions to ratios. We are comparing parts of a whole in a fraction. Using 2/3 x 1/4 as an example we would be finding what 2/3 OF 1/4 is when mutliplying.

To help cover this in class I have provided students with a fractional part of a cookie cake (fake of course- then as they work they get a cookie to snack on). They have to determine how break the cookie into equivalent sections. As you can see in this task card (a relatively simple one), students must first identify the amount of cookie cake that is remaining (1/4 in this case). Then as they continue reading they will see they are sharing it with 2 friends. This alone might stump students because they need to also include themselves so they are going to break it into thirds. Therefore 1/3 x 1/4 will show them the fractional part of the original cookie because each kid will receive 1/3 OF the leftover 1/4 of the cookie cake. Not only does this problem give them relevance to multiplying fractions but it also makes it something that is easily relateable to real life and therefore a connection can be made.

Struggling wtih Multiplying Fractions? That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles not only focuses on multiplying fractions but has students understanding the why of how fractions cause quantities to reduce in size.Now I think that I need to make the task cards so that I can share them with you so be sure to come back soon because they will be ready for you to use with your students! WOO HOO! The task cards for That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles are now complete! You can grab your set here!

Looking for the next stop on the Fly on the Math Teacher’s Wall Blog Hop? Check out my buddy at Hodge’s Herald for her take on Fraction Misconceptions!