Pieces of a Pi
Sure, you could teach your students about how the number pi was discovered and what it stands for, but it will be much more meaningful to them if you allow them to discover pi for themselves. Hand out several objects shaped as a circle and have groups of students measure the diameter, radius, and circumference of each one and record their results. Pass the circular objects from group to group until each group gets a chance to record the measurements of each object. Then have groups work to try to find a relationship between the measurements they took of each object. Discuss their discoveries as a class, and explain the concept of pi.
If your students are about to learn about the volume of three-dimensional objects, consider letting them learn it with a hands-on geometry activity. Help them use construction paper to make the sides of a three-dimensional object. For example, they might curl a piece of paper into a circle to make a cylinder or bend the corners to make a square. Then let them fill the inside with sugar cubes to see what the volume of the object is. Let them work in groups to figure out how they could have figured out the volume without the sugar cubes, just by measuring the length or height of the object.
Make the Angle
Have students work in groups to make various types of angles or triangles (e.g., obtuse, right, equilateral) with licorice or pretzels. If they would like, they can glue their creations together with frosting or glue and display them for rest of the class to see. Alternatively, have them create angles by using their bodies, either lying on the floor or standing. These geometry activities will help students truly understand the differences between the various types of angles and triangles.
This post is part of the series: Science and Math Hands-on Activities
Looking for science and math hands-on activities? This series contains some excellent ideas for several levels of math and science classes.