Students 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). Students celebrated early, on Friday, March 11, since Pi Day fell during Spring Break.
Elementary Pi Day
Montessori students study pi each year, with a focus on the 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 aids 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 interest and wonder in how other mathematical formulas were derived.
After the lesson the students enjoyed sampling many delicious varieties of pies!
Middle School Pi Day
Middle School students used hands-on learning to calculate the circumference and area of circles using everyone’s favorite irrational number: Pi! They applied those skills with a challenge from NASA, and of course celebrated by eating mini pies!