How Much Pi Do We Need? ActivityGrades 6–8
Students’ concept of pi is sometimes limited by the kinds of problems we give them. Many of my students think of pi as 3.14, which is a very common estimate for pi — one which is often used on standardized tests. However, the goal of this activity is developing number sense. In this case, we want to have students see how many digits of pi are needed in order to get an answer accurately rounded to the ones place.
Download this activity and encourage students to use a calculator to complete it. That way, the focus is on seeing the effect of using varying estimates for pi rather than on practicing multi-digit decimal multiplication. You can have a great discussion in class about how much accuracy is needed for everyday work as opposed to scientific work.
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