Monday, June 18, 2018

Graph the Digits of Pi, and More Delicious Pi Projects

Sometimes I try to make our weekly hands-on math enrichment something that relates to a math concept that one of the kids is studying that week, but often, it's just something fun, because math IS fun!

For math enrichment one week, then, I challenged the kids to graph the digits of pi.

I printed out 1cm graph paper while the kids found the Cuisenaire rods and markers. Cuisenaire rods and 1cm graph paper are best friends, and I LOVE using them together.

First, the kids used Cuisenaire rods to make a physical model of the graph directly onto graph paper:

Look at how pretty that is!

Next, each kid took two sheets of graph paper, and was responsible for coloring in the graph for those digits. Will went first, so that Syd could start where she left off with her second two sheets.

On another day while they were at day camp, I trimmed the graph, taped the sheets together, and mounted it in their playroom as a surprise for them when they came home:

That graph below pi is from I don't remember when, when Syd graphed the number of toy animals on these shelves according to categories that she made up. The far greatest number of animals belong to the Mythical Creatures category, it seems.

Here's a better look at their complete graph of pi:

 I think it's lovely!

Can't get enough of pi projects? I kind of can't! Here are plenty more resources for active engagement with the concept of pi:

  1. This song makes it so easy to memorize the first 25 digits of pi that a seven-year-old can do it!
  2. Archimedes used the Method of Exhaustion to find pi by averaging inscribed and circumscribed polygons. You can do this, too, small-scale with pencil and paper or large-scale with chalk on your driveway.
  3. If you're looking for an anchor chart with the digits of pi, why not make it as lovely as possible? I really want to make this out of stiffened felt.
  4. Syd is going into the seventh grade and she STILL loves BrainPop videos. Here's one on pi.
  5. Oh, look! If you use LEGOs, you can take your graph of the digits of pi VERTICAL!
  6. Here's another really cool visual exploration: you cut a circle into equal parts, then rearrange them so that the parts form a rectangle. I'd use heavy cardstock to help the pieces be less fiddly.
  7. Demonstrate pi with string,  although use something with no stretch to it, like twine.
  8. This post shows a pi scarf knitting pattern--which I super need to learn how to knit so I can make--but the template also shows the gridded digits, so you can use it to cross-stitch pi or make it from Perler beads.
  9. Bake pi! If you have a set of numeral cookie cutters, check out this cherry pi decorated with the digits of pi.
  10. Okay, this is the cutest thing that I've ever seen. Make a Pi Day pin out of felt!
  11. This is a terrific activity for demonstrating pi. It uses lined notebook paper to help you make your measurement.
When Syd was really into memorizing pi, we found this video that taught her that she actually only needs to memorize the first 39 digits. With that, she can measure everything in the known universe with an accuracy equal to the width of a hydrogen atom!

And finally, here are our favorite books about pi:

P.S. Want more in-the-moment handmade homeschool projects? Check out my Craft Knife Facebook page!

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