Education Technology

Predicting π

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students explore the use of linear measurement and calculators to discover the existence of π, the constant ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print student activity sheet page 102 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the page to the class.

    Follow the activity procedures:

  • Identify several circular objects in the classroom, on the school grounds, or at home
  • Select a tool to measure the circumference and diameter of each circle, and record these measurements on the recording sheet
  • Use a compass to draw several different circles and record their circumferences and diameters on the recording sheet
  • Calculate the ratio between the circumference and diameter of each circle
  • Look for patterns in the data and make conjectures about why the patterns might exist
  • Discover the existence of π, the constant ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle
  • After the Activity

  • Review student results
  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary