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Understanding Pi

Students learn the mathematical value of pi through the process of measuring circumference. Students conduct hands-on calculations for cylindrical objects, demonstrate the properties of a circle, and discover for themselves how pi works.

7-9

Subject Matter:

Mathematics

Curricular Uses:

Pi, Basic Geometry, Irrational and Rational Numbers, Ratios

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

•   Measure the circumference of an object to the nearest sixteenth of an inch.
•   Measure the diameter of an object to the nearest sixteenth of an inch.
•   Explain why 3.14 is used as an approximation for pi.
•   Demonstrate why one may compute pi by dividing the circumference of an object by its diameter.
•   Discover and apply the formula for calculating the circumference of an object by using pi.
•   Learn the definitions of rational and irrational numbers and see specific examples of each.
•   Understand why pi is an irrational number.

Use of Internet: The Internet is used as a research tool. It also helps students see and hear visual and musical representations of pi.

This lesson was developed by Emily Crawford, Linda George, and Tracy Goodson-Espy.