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Pi Day

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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 store-bought 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

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