So today was my first opportunity ever to introduce a bunch of fresh young minds to the glory that is Pi Day*….by that I mean it’s the first time I’ve taught a high school class and I was able to plan a Pi Day celebration/lesson…
As my master teacher had nothing planned for the day, he told me that I could plan whatever I wanted. Aka, a nerd-fest was in store.
So rather than working on any of my finals this weekend, I spent 4 hours on Sunday making around 50 Pi Day cookies** for the kids in my class and the ones that come to after school tutoring. I then spent an addition couple hours planning a small lesson involving said cookies and threw in awesome facts about pi (which I’m sure all the students read and appreciated).
This is what I came up with: they had to measure the circumference of the cookie by wrapping a string around it, cutting it, and then measuring the string against a ruler. Then they used their ruler to find the diameter of the cookie. And finally, they had to divide the circumference by the diameter and *cross your fingers* get an approximation for pi!
That being said, a couple kids ate their cookies before even trying to measure anything (one student used his scissors to carefully cut out the instructions that read “DO NOT EAT COOKIE YET” before I passed the cookies out….pretty sure it was the most energy he put into the class all year), and another handful decided to round their measurements to the nearest inch (or not even the nearest, but whatever number they felt like) and got that the ratio was 2….I was hoping they would at least be somewhere between 3 and 4. (Note to self: next year explain how to use a ruler and what the “little lines between the inches” mean).
However, a couple kids actually came really close to pi!! Tears of joy were shed.
And of course, every student was at least mildly happy for once in this class because all it really takes is cookies to make teenagers happy. One boy even said my cookies were too good not to be store bought and kept swearing he saw them at Food 4 Less. Not quiet a compliment, but I’ll take it.
Over all, it was a really successful day. I got the real lesson done in time so that the Pi Day activity wasn’t rushed at all (nothing gets students taking notes faster than telling them we need time for a cookie activity), I was stoked to finally have an outlet to reveal my inner geek without fear of judgment (ya, it’s been about 7 years since I cared whether 15 year olds thought I was cool), and everyone got a break from learning useful information to indulge my love for math (or their sweet tooth…we may never know). And one girl even took a picture of her cookie, so boom, the day was immortalized.
Conclusion: I won with the students, I won with math. I’m bi-winning.
*Pi Day = March 14th or 3/14, because Pi=3.14. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you didn’t know…they would all think you were such a geek.
**No, I did not make or buy pie….it may be blasphemous to some, but let’s be real, pie is expensive. But every March 14th, I will gladly accept pie (apple plz) from any admirers.