Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Pi Lesson Plan

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Pi, and supports the standard of using the formulas for the area and circumference of a circle to solve problems. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Display this still from the movie (timestamp: 1:04):

Explain that this is the symbol for pi, which has an approximate value of 3.14. Ask students:

  • Where have you seen pi before? 
  • What do you think it might be used for?
  • Why might mathematicians use a symbol to represent pi?  

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read the description on the Pi topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 

Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Dates and Times” or “Laws and Customs.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: ENGAGE

Students express what they learned about pi while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce an instructional video for employees at a bakery explaining how to determine the area and circumference of the pies, cakes, and cookies to ensure they’re the correct sizes. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and describing features and uses of pi. (Essential  Literacy Skill: Acquire and use domain specific words and phrases.)
  • Creative Coding: Code a math problem challenging others to find the circumference and area of a circle. (Essential Literacy Skill: Integrate content presented in diverse formats)
  • Primary Source Activity: Analyze a bill proposed by an amateur mathematician that would have established an incorrect value for pi. Cite evidence to answer accompanying questions. (Essential Literacy Skill:Cite specific evidence to support conclusions drawn)

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students complete the Pi Worksheet, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Pi Quiz

Step 5:  EXTEND LEARNING

Related BrainPOP Topics: Deepen understanding of pi with these topics: Circles and Rational and Irrational Numbers

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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