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 aide 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 lesson begins with the history of the first people who discovered these mathematical relationships and then allows for the students to visually see the relationship themselves using the Geometric Cabinet Polygon Drawer (a Montessori 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. The morning festivities came to closure with Zachary Banner’s father leading our students into an engaging probability experiment to determine the value of pi.
After the lesson the students enjoyed sampling many delicious varieties of pies!