Amazing Stem Lesson
An important part of teaching mathematics is to be able to understand the reasoning behind it. Sometimes that explanation gets lost in a lesson. For example, do you know what pi really means other than it is 3.14? My amazing teaching moment involves helping my fifth grade students understand this concept. First, I sparked my students’ interest by reading the book, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander. Then I gave each student a household item that was in the shape of a circle. I gave each student a piece of string and some scissors and asked them to cut a piece of string that was the diameter of their circle. They then wrapped the piece of string around their circles to discover that it would take three pieces of string the same length to wrap around the entire circle and there was still a little gap. We then discovered that this is where Pi comes from. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter which is 3.14. Once we discovered this phenomenon, we checked to see if this worked with every circle and it did! We then figured out that if we multiply the diameter of a circle with pi, we will find out the circumference. My final challenge for my students was that they were only given string and scissors and needed to figure out the circumference of a circle without a ruler. They had to use their knowledge of measurements with common items in order to discover the circumference of the circle. This part really challenged my students because they rely on rulers so much. They had to really think about how they would go about finding accurate measurements. This lesson had so many amazing teaching moments for me. My students took away so many things from that lesson. They understood what pi meant and they also learned how to think outside the box to solve a problem. It is a moment I will never forget.