Making a Pi Necklace
by Diana Funke
As a 7th grade math teacher, I like to make mathematics as visual as possible. For
Pi Day, my students make Pi necklaces.
I use Pi as a way of introducing my students to the idea of an irrational number.
After studying decimals that terminate or repeat, I ask them to bring in a can and
we compare the circumference to the diameter by dividing C by d. This is how they
find out what Pi is all about.
I have them make a Pi necklace to reinforce the idea that some numbers never repeat
or end. We usually use from 100 to 300 beads, depending on the size of the bead.
They assign a color to each digit (including 0) and then string beads of those
colors into a necklace, using the digits of Pi as their guide. Some students make
their own beads with polymer clay and others string storebought beads of all sizes.
The first bead, representing the number three, is bigger than the rest.
(In the illustration, the necklace has a big silver triangular "bead"
as the whole number 3 part of Pi.)
At 1:59 P.M. we all stop what we are doing and wish everyone a Happy Pi Day!
Diana Funke, Mathematics teacher
Davisville Middle School
North Kingstown, RI
ride1033@ride.ri.net
