Calculus students celebrate Pi Day at Burning Tree
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AP Calculus BC students visited Burning Tree Elementary school March 17 to teach fifth graders a lesson about pi and celebrate Pi Day. The original March 14 celebration was cancelled due to the snow day.
Calculus teacher Michelle Holloway first started teaching a Pi Day lesson at Burning Tree 10 years ago when her oldest son was in kindergarten, and it’s become an annual tradition ever since.
“Originally, it was just me going there to present a lesson, but in the last five years I’ve included my own students and allowed them to take over teaching,” she said.
Holloway and her students planned a variety of fun activities for the lesson, which focused on the relationship between the circumference, diameter and radius of a circle.
“There was lots of laying on the floor,” Holloway said. “I think the kids appreciated the kinesthetic interaction—although they were most appreciative of the pies we enjoyed afterwards.”
To start off, both the high school and fifth grade students gathered in a circle and measured its radius, which was equal to two kids lying down. They counted the amount of times the two students went around the circle, discovering that they went around two pi—or about six—times.
They also did similar activities with diameter, where they lined students up to discover that circumference is always approximately three times the diameter.
The entire day was nostalgic for former Burning Tree students who visited their old teachers. Some high school students even remembered Holloway coming to teach while they were still Burning Tree students.
“I thought it was really fun,” junior Johnna Lee said. “The kids really do remember it; my sister told me that she remembers when BC Calculus students taught her a lesson when she was a fifth grader.”
They concluded the day with a contest for who could memorize the most digits of pi.
“They were very enthusiastic about pi, but they’d always mess up the same exact number over and over again,” sophomore Urban Seiberg said. “It was really cute.”