Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

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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 KNOWLEDGE

  • 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: APPLY and ASSESS

Students take the Pi Quiz, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Step 4: EXTEND and DEEPEN

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 that answers this question: How do you determine the area and circumference of the pies, cakes, and cookies to ensure they’re the correct sizes?
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and describing features and uses of pi. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a math problem challenging others to find the circumference and area of a circle.
  • 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. 

More to Explore

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

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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