Friday, February 4, 2011

Pie Review - A Sir Cumference Activity

You didn't really think we made it through Cindy Neuschwander's Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, without having some pie, did you? I mean, they eat pies right in the story. It's a natural.

I figured as long as we were having a circular snack, we might as well use it to review some of the things we learned this week, both from the Sir Cumference series, and from the Cyberchase episodes we watched. So, I told the children, before we'd eat the pie, I had a few questions for them.

First of all, there was a vent hole in the center of our pie. I asked the children if it was really in the center, and how they could be certain of their answer.

They were pretty sure it was not in the center. G (age 11), used a pencil to check. She held the eraser over the hole, then spun the pencil around the circle. Since, there were times the end of the pencil stuck out from the pie more than others, the hole was not in the center.

This technique came almost directly from the Cyberchase, "for real" section, at the end of the "Borg of the Ring" episode, where Bianca uses a shoelace to check if the pegs on a game wheel are all an equal distance form the center.

Then, I asked them to locate the actual center the center of the pie crust.

T (age 13), unfolded a napkin, and used the intersecting lines to line up the center, making sure the corners of the square were overhanging the same amount.

This is also similar to something they picked up from "Borg of the Ring".

I asked them to cut the pie, first by cutting the diameter through the center. A (age 9), took on the honor of cutting.

Then, I asked them to cut a radius, at a 90 degree angle to the diameter line they had cut. They used their protractor medallions, to find the angle.

Next, I asked them to cut a radius, at a 45 degree angle to the diameter, they found that one a little harder, but did figure it out.

Finally, the Man of the House announced "enough testing", and declared it time to serve the pie. This of course, led to some fun review for the younger children, of fractions, division, and subtraction, and would have been a great time for charting, and percents, as some wanted pie, some pie with ice cream, and some only ice cream.

Who knew a pie could be so educational? But seriously, this review, as most tests are, was really more for me as a teacher, to confirm what I suspected. The children are learning quite a bit from both the Sir Cumference series, and Cyberchase. The books are proving great for teaching all the tricky math terms, in memorable ways, while the animated programs are doing better at teaching the math concepts, and how to apply them. And, the children are enjoying them both (although T likes to protest, that Cyberchase is a baby show - it hasn't stopped him from watching along with the rest of us), so it's a win all around.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Phyllis said...

You didn't add to your list all the wonderful hands-on stuff you have been doing. What an excellent job you have done with this geometry unit and showing how it to teach it the in unschooler style.

Ticia said...

I'm thinking pie sounds good right now. But to do that I'd have to leave my nice warm house and go out in the snow to get eggs. That doesn't sound so good.

Pebblekeeper ~ Angie said...

And this my friend is why I love studying Pi. :) I was hoping we'd get here this week! We had a fun time earlier in the year with circumference measuring every glass float and ball in the house. ;) and Pie. I mean - Pi.

Unknown said...

I bet those were the most perfectly even cut pieces of pie- ever!

Christy Killoran said...

I knew pie was coming soon! My T can often be found watching "baby shows" with his siblings!!! I love the way the man of the house declared the learning done so that he could eat pie!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

OK, those glowing reviews make me want to look at Cyberchase, except the name makes me think that it's not something Anna will enjoy - she is not a fan of suspense. On the other hand, she happens to be a big fan of pi(e).

Joyful Learner said...

What a great way to solidify what they have learned through various media! I've never heard of Cyberchase but will look into it. You are a model of unschooling at its best!

Gretel Shuvzwichinstov said...

I've been thinking about buying the Sir Cumference books for my kids, and this just pushed me over the edge into getting them.

Thanks for your great story!