Orange-Ulster BOCES 53 Gibson Road Goshen, NY 10924 (845) 291-0100
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Instructional Support Services & Local Teachers Prepare for Pi Day
On February 15th, teachers from across Orange County gathered at the OU BOCES Division of Instructional Support to prepare for Pi Day on March 14th (3.14). The"pre" Pi Day event was facilitated by OU BOCES Instructional Specialist Brittany Redmond. Pi Day became a nationally recognized holiday in 2005 in an effort to inspire and excite students about STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics). Pi is the most famous ratio of all - the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The number is irrational, meaning it is a never-ending, non-repeating number. Pi is fascinating and is included as part of the New York State standards in the middle school curriculum, but its wonder can be explored at many levels!
During this half day workshop, teachers engaged in discovery activities about pi. They measured circular objects and discovered that the circumference is always “3 and a little bit” times the diameter. Building off of the foundation of what pi is, teachers discovered the American hat size is determined by dividing the circumference of a person’s head (in inches) by pi.
Another activity included Buffon’s needles, based upon a geometric probability discovered by Georges-Louis Leclerc, the Count of Buffon, in the late 1700’s. People would bet on whether a coin dropped to the floor would cross the seam of the wood floor. Buffon found that the approximate chance or probability of this occurring is pi! Participants in this workshop were able to come up with these same findings by dropping toothpicks onto a sheet of paper.
In addition to these discovery activities, participants also learned how to create a school-wide event to celebrate Pi Day and engage the whole learning community. Some ideas discussed were “pi” baking competitions, “pi”-ing a teacher, and a school-wide competition to memorize the most digits of pi.
Teachers will be returning to their home districts with a wealth of activities to engage not only their own students, but also their entire school. Pi will continue to be the most famous ratio of all, and Pi Day will continue to be a mathematical holiday to be celebrated by exciting students about math!