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Topic: Comments on mdipow - Building a Snow Statue
Replies: 7   Last Post: Mar 25, 2001 8:36 AM

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Judy Ann Brown

Posts: 192
Registered: 12/3/04
Comments on mdipow - Building a Snow Statue
Posted: Feb 27, 2001 10:41 AM
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I just received an email from a pair of students. They wrote:

"My friend and I were wondering if we were to represent pi as 22/7 or

Since this question can apply to many other problems, I thought that I
would share my reply to them. I wrote:

Hi (names removed)

I'm guessing that you are asking this question because a recent
problem did specify which representation of pi you should use.
However, in the current problem the decision is left up to you.

Does one version seem more or less reasonable to you? Are there other
representations for pi that would be more reasonable? What part does
accuracy play in this particular problem? How accurate can your final
answer be? Don't forget to consider the original measurements given in
the problem?

I've probably left you with more to think about, rather than just
answering your original question. Just remember that in the end you
will have gained a lot more by making this type of decision yourself.
Just be sure that your explanation justifies your decision.

Good Luck

I'd love to hear what you say to your students when they ask this very
common question.


P.S. I think I'm going to scream if I see one more answer to this
problem carried out to 7 or 8 decimal places! ;-)

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