Easy as Pi

“To me, mathematics, computer science, and the arts are insanely related. They’re all creative expressions.”  Sebastian Thrun

Heart-a-Day #27:  Life of Pi

It’s never too early to expose children to big, important and unusual numbers.  Even though my students are only five years old, we celebrate Pi Day each year on March 14 (3.14 – get it?).  I tell the students that Pi is a number that mathematicians use to solve problems.  That’s as deeply as we need to dive.  But we spend the day using Pi to explore counting and number recognition.  We write the number, carrying out the decimal point six places.  We use cubes to represent the number – a stack of three, a stack of one, a stack of four, followed by a stack of one, six and so on.  We work with partners to find ways to illustrate Pi with blocks, buttons, paper clips and marshmallows.  This year, with the help of a Pinterest search, we made Pi bracelets.  Each student took a pipe cleaner and threaded on three beads of the same color; then one bead of a different color; then four beads of still a different color.  We strung beads out to the sixth decimal place.  The students were completely engaged in all of these activities.  They were able to practice and develop skills of number sense, counting and grouping.  Who knew that a piece of Pi could create such a memorable day?

How can you involve your students with big, important or unusual numbers?  Can your students work together to solve how many hands and feet are in their classroom?  Perhaps they could draw, write or count their results.   Or maybe you could take a walk around campus and count the number of doors and windows.  Go ahead and serve that slice of Pi.  Everyone will enjoy it.


(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use.  The images are for personal use only.  No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)


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I am an artist, musician, author and kindergarten teacher wanting to share what I have learned about teaching and making art.

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