March 14 is known as Pi day. The HALB middle school classes did different investigations to gain a true understanding of the meaning of pi. In Mrs. Hendeles’s sixth grade, students explored pi through an interactive app, selecting various diameters and recording the corresponding circumferences. Her class, along with Mrs. Bronstein’s, Mr. Panicker’s, Mrs. Weiss’s, and Mr. Gubbi’s classes, also measured their own objects, including cookies, mugs, and cans of food, and then estimated the value of pi.
Eighth graders in Mrs. Hendeles’s math class discussed why pi is irrational, and then learned to differentiate between rational and irrational numbers. They also completed a coloring activity in which they classified numbers as irrational, rational, and integers. Meanwhile, Mr. Gubbi’s eighth grade class took a different approach to pi by discovering it through probability. Using a circular dart board within a square, students threw randomly at the dartboard. The number of target hits inside the circle, compared to the total number of throws will tend towards one-fourth of pi. Through this lens, the class then discussed how pi can be simulated using software.
In a different vein, Rabbi Morgenbesser’s classes learned about the significance of pi in the Torah. From a pasuk in Melachim, to a Mishnah and Gemara in Eiruvin, to the commentary of the Rambam, these students saw how Chazal across the ages understood and used this fascinating concept in their Torah studies and halacha.
Through a variety of different hands-on activities, students learned about and discovered pi in a real world context, allowing them to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of this major geometric concept.