Here are the documents that I shared during my half of the Pi Day presentation at globalmath (2/26/2013).Becky Rahm (@beckyrahm) was my co-presenter who shared some fantastic ideas. You can find those on her blog at this link.
Here is my part of the presentation. You can also watch the Global Math presentation at Big Marker to listen to all that Becky and I had to share, a lot which may not be on the slides. A few other teachers jumped in at the end to share some additional activities as well; it was a great Global Math!
Years ago, before I was *officially* a part of the MathTwitterBlogosphere, I wanted to change what I was doing for Pi day…actually I wanted to do something for Pi day as I had not been doing much of anything. I did a lot of internet searching for activities and found some great ones. Because I couldn’t choose just one or two activities to do and I found a description of a activity rotation for Pi Day online, I decided that was what I was going to do. I created all of the documents you will see, however the original station idea and many of the activities did come from a great teacher online who was willing to even answer an email I sent asking about Pi Day way back in the day! But I don’t know who and I can’t find the activities online anywhere. If anyone knows…please comment so I can credit the right person for this great station idea!
Since I can’t upload the zip file and the Dropbox link was spotty during Global Math, I will link each file in this post. *Please note Scribd does weird things with word docs and I may have used uncommon fonts, so ignore the weird formatting!
Here is my directions/reminders/to do list file. I share this with the teachers & aides, etc. who will be helping me on this day. It just contains a few reminders for me as I start planning for Pi Day. Additionally, I have a direction sheet for each station with helpful hints and reminders for the parents/teachers at that station. The second page shows how I split up the stations. There are some in my Math class, some in the Science class and some in the “family” room area between the classrooms. Splitting it up this way helps alleviate crowding at certain stations and areas. Also both the Science teacher and I project the map during the rotation to help students know where the stations are located. A normal period is 44 minutes, so we block Math & Science together to get 90 minutes (includes the passing period). We take about 15 minutes to explain the day, activities, hand out the packet and get them started. We also wrap up with 10 minutes left in the blocked period to collect their packets and give them time to self assess & vote on the back of the booklet.
Of course this day would not be possible without the help of parent volunteers and donations of pie, juice boxes and forks & napkins. I typically send the following email to all parents on March 1st. This year I will be sending the email, but with a link to a google doc to collect their responses. After looking at how Becky organizes her Pi Day with a sign-up sheet, I am going to try and find a way to incorporate that into the google doc as well.
Leading up to Pi Day, to build the excitement there is a Pi Poster contest (to help decorate the walls of the school the week of Pi Day) and a Pi T-shirt decorating contest & they wear their shirt on Pi Day. The document below outlines those activities. This document came from a teacher in my district…I liked her explanation and set-up of the file better than mine! This year I am also planning to use Remind101 to send text Pi Day trivia and facts to my students to help build excitement!
To kick off Pi Day and really get them excited, the day before I share my absolute favorite Pi Day video: Lose Yourself in the Digits of Pi.
My favorite part of Pi Day set up is the booklet. If the word doc saves correctly from Scribd for you, it should automatically print it two to a page, so that you can copy back to back easily to create the booklet. Basically it ends up being a regular sheet of paper folded in half. This is what is given to the students on Pi Day. We walk through the directions page and what is required. Someone at Global Math recommended that I change the required activities to be #3, 1 & 4…which is a great idea, but I couldn’t get it reformatted before posting. After years of doing this, I found that color coding the booklets per math period is VERY helpful, so I typically copy each booklet in a different colored paper.
I am not explaining each of the stations from the booklet, only the ones that require additional files to use.
Station 2 is String Pi, where they use pipe cleaners and perler beads to color code and string pi into a bracelet (if they want to keep it). Someone (I can’t remember who) shared this same activity tonight as well, but with a twist of a timed competition and set up a little differently in how student color code. Because I am doing this as part of a block of time where they need to complete a set number of activities, I don’t think I could modify it that way, but I do love the idea and will consider it for future years! The document below outlines two ways for students to string pi by color. Here is a graphic of the beads I get…I’ve only had to buy it once over the years, but it is cheap at Wal-Mart or one of the the craft stores with a coupon.
Station 3 is Sing a Pi Song and is one of my favorites. I have created a song booklet for them to chose a song from to sing. I have a glittery plastic microphone and a music stand for them to perform from. I also video tape them with my flip video camera (asking each group permission). Sometimes the videos end up in the end of the year video I create for the team. 🙂 Again, this should print and copy the same as the station booklet above.
Station 5 is the Circle Game. It’s a fun game, but requires a large amount of prep. I color coded and alpha coded each set I made, so if there was a random circle on the ground we could figure out where it goes. Students helped me cut them out years ago (they can’t cut circles very well, I learned) and I keep each set in a large envelope. Last year I had a few circles go missing, so I just printed on the right color cardstock and cut out the pieces I needed. I would also recommend using a paper sized sheet of foam as the playing board because the circles don’t move or blow around as easily. 🙂
I also made Station Signs for each station, copied on colored paper and had them laminated. We hang these by each station so students can easily find where they are.
It is a LONG day for me, but it is so much fun. I want to incorporate a Pi Memorization contest this year, but I think it would have to be before school…maybe I could bring them donuts as a treat for memorizing!
I love getting new ideas to change up Pi Day, so please share what you do in your classroom & school!