Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3/14 Pi Day

Every 7 years or so accounting for leap years, Pi day actually occurs on a Tuesday. Yesterday was the first time that occurred while I've  been running the Math Club. Because most of the kids were here last year I did not go over my usual conceptual question "Why is the circumference of a circle in a constant ratio with its radius, and why such a funny value?"


I fall into the camp that its fun to celebrate as long as something mathematically meaningful occurs during the party. I also try to de-emphasize anything to do with memorizing digits. So due to all the apple pies being taken this year I picked up a strawberry rhubarb pie at the local super market which I served as everyone arrived in the cafeteria. This kept the mess to a containable minimum and as expected the kids were all very excited by the treat.

Like last year I decided to also do a pi day themed video after the following one showed up in one of my feeds:

After we were done I had another NASA packet to try out:
I tried this type material once before (space map session).  Since some of the kids liked it before, I thought 20-25 minutes would be about the right amount of time to try a similar activity again. I'm not completely keen on the formula plugging involved but in watching the kids, its actually useful every once in a while to use real, messy physical values and reason a bit how to apply basic geometry.

Overall everything went smoothly including setting up the video (cabling + wifi). The setup time did mean the kids fooled around for the 2 minutes before I could start but that just took a little extra talk to get the room's attention and settle in.

A not too hard but perhaps counter-intuitive circle property from

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