Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pi Day Eve Celebration 2015

This post has been in my drafts folder for months and I never got around to finishing it.  We decided this year as a 7th grade math department to have a "Pi Day Eve" Celebration since Pi day actually fell on a Saturday this year.  Part of the 7th grade math curriculum is learning about the area and circumference of circles so this fit perfectly into our curriculum.  When we did our celebration our Honors Math 7 students had just finished Chapter 12 on Circles and our Math 7 students were still a few weeks away from starting the chapter.  It ended up being fine that this was a perfect culminating activity for Honors Math and sort of a preview for our other classes.  I do have to say that when we started Chapter 12 with our Math 7 students they definitely remembered what we did on Pi Day Eve so that background really set the stage for starting the chapter off with some common background knowledge for all students.  This was obviously several months ago, so I apologize if I don't remember all the details, but you will get a decent idea of how we structured this, in case you want to do something similar in your class or school next year for Pi Day.

Our class periods are 60 min, and each of the 7th grade math teacher split the class into three groups: A, B, and C.  Each letter group went through three different 12 minute rotations, visiting each math teacher and then all students went back to their own math class for a 20 min fun food filled celebration.  The extra 4 min were for transition time between the classes.  I was the official timekeeper so once students were settled I set my iPhone timer for 12 min.  As soon as it went off I let the other two teachers know it was time to switch.  I think the timer was really important or we would have gotten ourselves off track timewise.  We wanted to have the 20 min at the end so students could eat the treats they brought in.  

Started out by showing a short video clip from Discovery Streaming on finding the circumference of a circle.  

For my Honors math the students worked on this Circular Sudoku puzzle (and I realized after the fact that I spelled Sudoku wrong, OOPS, that's the beauty of google docs, it's already fixed).  This was REALLY challenging for students.  We never do Sudoku in class some students understood the concept and others had never done a puzzle.  No one came close to finishing.  I told the students that anyone who finished over the weekend and showed it to me would get some candy.  No one followed up on that.

For my Math 7 classes I showed the video clip and then had the students work on the  Circle Learning Station in their groups.  With the very short amount of time most groups just found the circumference.  A few groups had the extension of finding the area given the formula.  The formulas were discussed in the video clip and written on my whiteboard.  When we got to Chapter 12 we still did the activity with circles and string to see the relationship between diameter, circumference, and pi.  It was impressive how many students remembered the circumference and area formulas when we got to Chapter 12.

One of the other teachers did a Kahoot that the students loved.  The other one did something with dropping toothpicks (totally don't remember the name of it, some of you probably do).  The students really enjoyed all the treats brought in for the class celebrations.  I took a photo of each class hour's treats and boy were they impressive.  I told students to bring in any "circular" treats.  A couple students in my 6th hour ended up bringing in pies.

This was a completely exhausting day of having three different groups in 12 minute rotations for four different classes.  By the end of the day I did not know if I was coming or going.  The kids loved it and it was nice to something "fun" for a change while still being educational and relating to our 7th grade curriculum.  It was also fun to get to meet students from the other two houses.  Hopefully next year we will find more opportunities to do activities like this where we are able to mix students from all three houses.  I think for our first time things went really well and I'm already thinking about what I can do better for next year.

A funny side story, the other day I finally met my new next door neighbors.  My 9 yo son Cooper actually met them months ago on Pi Day because he was selling coupon cards for LAX.  Well when we were talking the other day, I apologized for being such a lame neighbor and waiting so long to introduce myself.  I was talking about teaching at our middle school and my neighbor told me how when he met my Cooper for the first time, he introduced himself and told him his mom was a math teacher and that it was Pi day and Cooper explained what that was.  The guy was so impressed and thought my son was some sort of prodigy to know that.  LOL those are the kind of things you just know being the son of a math teacher. :)

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