Oh Number Pi – Celebrate Pi Day in style!

pi-day-comingHere 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.xprd93839_m

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!

 

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#MyFavFriday: Count Off

I love the #MsSunFun, #Made4Math & #MyFavFriday because they keep me blogging and looking for something worthwhile to contribute.  I had some extra time during Advisory today and we played this game, it’s not really math related but it’s a great filler.  Our 8th grade students do a huge team building unit during Advisory through October, but we also continue it throughout the year.  This is part of our Team Building Activity Binder that I put together for the grade level teachers many many years ago. As we were playing I thought “This would be a great #MyFavFriday post!”.  I almost couldn’t wait for the day to be over so I could blog about it. 🙂  Enjoy!

COUNT OFF
Activity Type:
Communication and Trust

Benchmark: Communicates clearly; Working in groups: Utilizes interpersonal skills to work cooperatively in diverse groups to accomplish common goals.

Group Size: Any

Materials: None

Time: 5-15 minutes; it is a great filler activity.  You will find that the kids will want to play it for as long as possible.

Procedure:

  1. Have the students sit in desks with their heads down & eyes closed. (It helps to keep the communication levels down, which is necessary.)
  2. Explain that you are going to test their counting skills.  They will need to count as a group as high as they can, hopefully through all students in the class.
  3. The rules are each student must have a chance to say ONE number, and once a student has said a number, they can not say another number.
  4. If two people say the same number simultaneously, the group must start back at one.  (This is the key to the game. This is also where they will get the loudest, when they have to start over.)
  5. It works best if the teacher is the one who says “One”.
  6. IMPORTANT: Students cannot pre-plan who is going to say each number…don’t tell them they can’t, but try not to allow it either.

Variation:
If they can count through all the students in class, have them count backwards, by two’s, etc.

Debriefing:

  1. Discuss the challenges the group went through.
  2. How were the challenges finally solved?
  3. How did you feel when you had to start all over again?
  4. What was it like not starting out with a plan of action?

#Made4Math: Sticky Ball Review Game

Image

I am so excited to have something for #Made4Math Monday and that I am actually posting it on the right day.

Sticky Ball I play this game quite often during the year, I tend to use it in my better behaved classes, which usually helps the classes that aren’t the best improve their behavior enough to play. Regardless it is a fun game. The date the powerpoint was created was in 2006, so I have been using it for a while. Being honest, I know I created a few of the slides, but I am not sure if it was originally found online.

Rules:
This game involves brain, skills and luck. By answering questions correctly, students get the opportunity to throw a sticky ball at a target and earn points for their team.

Materials:
game board slides, Individual whiteboards for each student, markers & erasers and STICKY BALLS! These came in a pack, I believe from a party store, but it’s been so long I can’t remember.
**You do need to use a regular whiteboard to project the game board on, not a smartboard…the balls won’t stick. I usually use a projector connected to a laptop to display the targets on the side board. And I use my smartboard to display the questions to solve.

Directions:
1: Compile a list of questions. Can use as a review game or practice

2: Divide the class into two teams, or you can use multiple groups of 4…really whatever works for your classroom. I use groups of 4 and the quietest team will get the first question to answer, BUT all students and all teams should be solving each problem on their board because they can steal points if the question is missed. I continue choosing the quietest team for each question, but to keep in mind which groups have been called on.

3: Put one of the problems on the board to solve. ALL students in the room should be solving on their whiteboard because they don’t know which student I will call on from their group to answer.
If they answer correctly, they get a turn to throw the sticky ball at the target and earn points for their team.
If the ball ticks to the target, assign the corresponding points. If the ball misses or doesn’t stick, no points are awarded.

I tend to change the target AFTER they have solved a question and answered it. I have found if they see the target ahead of time and think it’s too hard, they won’t work to solve the problem.

Notes
Check first what is happening on the other side of your whiteboard! Depending on your set up, this game can create an annoying thumping sound in another classroom. (Unfortunately I know this from experience, it sounds even louder when the class next door is taking a test)

This game is a lot of fun and has the tendency to become loud and boisterous. I do remove points from the louder teams as necessary.

Variations:
If you are unable to find a sticky ball, use another toy that will stick to your white board. If noise is an issue, use a pom-pom or other soft object to throw.
Consider adding “no-go” areas where a poor/ill-considered toss can result in a loss of points (e.g. hitting another student or anything other than the whiteboard).