Mill Creek goes the distance for Pi
Alfred Alwin, a sixth-grader at Mill Creek Elementary School, recently learned that Pi “is irrational … and well rounded, too.”
Before leaving for Spring Break, Alwin and his Mill Creek classmates observed Pi Day, traditionally celebrated on March 14.
“The easiest way to define Pi is the relationship between a circle’s diameter and its circumference (the distance around),” sixth-grade teacher Amber Merrill said. “The diameter of a circle will fit around it just over 3 times, or 3.141592 … times.”
“Pi has a lot of numbers,” sixth-grader Jake Stewart said.
Sydney Miller said Pi is important for finding the area of a circle. “It’s a whole lot easier to do radius times radius times 3.14 than counting squares and estimating how many squares there are.”
Hannah Swager said she and her classmates made bracelets with paperclips. “Each paperclip color represented a number, so I memorized the first 20 digits of Pi.”
Merrill said Pi Day was observed “to get students excited about math. We hope the activities during Pi Day were memorable, so the next time they’re doing a circle problem they will remember the basics.”
All sixth-grade teachers at Mill Creek participated, including Merrill, Wade Thaxton, Dana Betts, Kristy Benefield and Sally Armstrong. Other Madison schools held similar activities.
Benefield’s class wrote several poetry prompts to inspire Pi-related prose. She used rhyming dictionaries with examples of limericks, like “… There were so many digits, I started to fidget, and looked up in the sky.”
Students also designed and wore Pi T-shirts to class. They used pizza boxes and menus from Famous Joe’s Pizzeria to determine the area of 12- and 16-inch pizzas and calculate the “cost per bite” of their three favorite pizzas.
Mill Creek’s sixth-graders “showed universal enthusiasm … even ‘reluctant’ learners. They continued to talk about what we did while (going) to the buses, which showed they enjoyed it,” Merrill said.