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It’s as Easy as Pi

Jennifer Jackson
5th Grade
Chattanooga Valley Elementary School
Walker County Schools


In this task, students will discover the relationship between a circle’s circumference and its diameter as an introduction to pi by measuring several circular objects.

Illustrative Task
Adapted from Texas Instruments Activity Exchange
  • Carefully wrap string around the circumference of your circular object. (Ask a partner to help.)
  • Cut the string when it is exactly the same length as the circumference.
  • Now take your “string circumference” and stretch it across the diameter of your circular object.
  • Cut as many “string diameters” from your “string circumference” as you can.
  • How many diameters could you cut?
  • Try this with at least 3 different size circles. What do you notice?
  • Compare your data with others. What do you notice?
  • How do you think the diameter and circumference of a circle are related?

GPS Addressed
M5G2. Students will understand the relationship of the circumference of a circle, its diameter, and pi (π or 3.14).

Video Information
Use these questions to guide your thinking about some of the important teacher ideas in the lesson featured in the video clip.
  1. What kinds of questions does the teacher ask to promote students’ problem solving?
  2. How is the teacher gauging students’ current understandings and building from those understandings?
  3. Consider the GPS standards listed with this video.
  4. What makes this lesson different from lessons you have taught on this topic?

Classroom Materials

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