ALEX Lesson Plan


"Introducing Pi!"

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Melissa DeBacker
System: Huntsville City
School: Mountain Gap P-8
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 6813


"Introducing Pi!"


The overriding purpose of the lesson is to actively engage students in learning activities that promote opportunities for students to discover the 'meaning' of pi. Activities will include research, hands-on, software applications, reading, writing, and collaborative work opportunities. The secondary purpose is to introduce and spark enthusiasm among students for our celebration of 'Pi Day'.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (6)
13. Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers. [6-EE2]
a. Write expressions that record operations with numbers and with letters standing for numbers. [6-EE2a]
Example: Express the calculation, "Subtract y from 5," as 5 - y.
b. Identify parts of an expression using mathematical terms (sum, term, product, factor, quotient, coefficient); view one or more parts of an expression as a single entity. [6-EE2b]
Example: Describe the expression 2(8 + 7) as a product of two factors; view (8 + 7) as both a single entity and a sum of two terms.
c. Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables. Include expressions that arise from formulas used in real-world problems. Perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole-number exponents, in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order (Order of Operations). [6-EE2c]
Example: Use the formulas V = s3 and A = 6s2 to find the volume and surface area of a cube with sides of length s = 1/2.
MA2015 (7)
14. Know the formulas for the area and circumference of a circle, and use them to solve problems; give an informal derivation of the relationship between the circumference and area of a circle. [7-G4]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will be able to convey their discovery of the 'meaning' of pi: Through the evidence obtained in the hands on activity the students will hypotheses that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of any circle is about 3.14.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

The lesson provides reinforcement and practice of the following previously acquired skills and terms: Ratio: writing as decimal Centimeter Quotient Rounding Using a calculator Using a ruler Working together Expression Substitution Summarization Reading/writing Translating words to an expression Mean, mode, median, range Software applications: power point excel word

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

paper, pencil, centimeter ruler, string circular items, calculator

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer, printer, paper, internet access, microsoft word, excel, powerpoint


Gather material for hands on activity. Prepare a sample power point presentation, word and excel spreadsheet. Research Pi on the internet and document appropriate websites. Generate rubrics for assessment. Schedule computer lab days.

1.)Part one: Hands on Materials needed for each group of 4 students: paper, pencil, centimeter ruler, various lengths of string, calculator, circular items (different sizes of lids), data collection worksheet. (See attachment- Example:Data collection worksheet) The students will work in groups measuring the circumference and diameter of at least 10 circular items. Students will record the measurements and then write and convert the ratio of the circumference to the diameter to a decimal rounded to the nearest 10 thousandths. (The number will be very close to pi.)After all calculations are done the student will compare answers with other groups. As a class we will calculate the mean of all the decimals. Again the answer will be very close to pi. Students will answer the 'Discovery' questions on the data collection worksheet. (duration: about 90 minutes)

2.)Part two: Students will use the data from the hands on activity to create an individual Excel spreadsheet.(See attachment- Example:Excel spreadsheet Pi) (duration: about 90 minutes)

3.)Part three: Students will use the internet to research the history and other facts about pi. The students will create a microsoft word flyer advertising the 'Pi Times' celebration on March 14th. (See attachment- Example Pi Times Celebration Flyer) Students will include information from the data collection worksheet, excel spreadsheet and the research. Students will be required to document their research resources. (duration about 90 minutes)

4.)Part 4: Students will use the information from the Hands On activity, excel spreadsheet, research, and flyer to create a Pi Day powerpoint presentation. Criteria: minimum of 7/maximum of 10 slides minimum of 2/maximum of 7 graphics, photos or animations minimum of 3/maximum of 7 Web links minimum of 3/maximum 10 resources minimum of 1/maximum of 2 sounds optional - video clip (duration: 90 minutes)

5.)Part 5: Assessment will be on-going with expectations and criteria defined before each activity. (See attachments- Example: rubric assessment for powerpoint, excel, flyer(word), and data collection)

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Assessment Strategies

The students will be given an assessment rubric before each activity and the expectations and criteria will be set. See attachments-Example: rubric assessment for flyer, spreadsheet, powerpoint, and hands on activity.





Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.