Upper Elementary participated in festivities to celebrate the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 due to π being roughly equal to 3.14(3/14 in American date format). Montessori students study pi each year, with a focus on discovery of the relationships of the parts of a circle and π, which represents the ratio between a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is a true sensory experience, visual, hands-on and even with tasting! The oldest students spend time preparing the lesson during their third year, rehearsing it and adding in vocabulary, visual aides and even technology. Since they have received the lesson before, they are demonstrating mastery when they need to understand it well enough to teach it to someone else. The way math is taught is multi-sensory as well, meaning there is a story, history about the first people who discovered these mathematical relationships, and then concretely proving the relationship themselves using the Montessori Stick Box (a Geometry material), rather than merely memorizing the formula. All this allows for a more in depth understanding, as well as developing an interest and wonder in how other mathematical formulas were derived.
Some of the beginning lessons included books, like Sir Cumference, and Eratosthenes, the Library who Measured the Earth, reviewing the formal nomenclature of the circle, and reviewing terms such as perimeter, area and how those are found for common polygons. The pie adds some fun to the day, and assures that these children will always remember pi!
After the lesson the students enjoyed many delicious varieties of pies for snack!
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The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.