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Celebrate Pi Day with these Activities
(For resources used with our study units, click on the Resources tab above.)
March 14 is coming quickly! Make your plans now to celebrate math with Pi Day using some of these neat resources, books, and ideas. We have links to tons of websites with activity suggestions for all grades. We also have a list of books that you can read and follow up with notebooking pages or lapbooks.
We have started out our day with headbands. On the front of the headband we attached a triangle resembling a slice of pizza pie or a circle resembling a whole pie. The kids colored in their favorite pizza or pie. Then wrote the word “Pi”, underneath that “3.14”, then “(the pi symbol).” We wore our headbands for the rest of the day, so that whenever we looked at one another, the “visual” learners had a reminder of Pi throughout the day.
We read a variety of stories involving the use of measuring a circle and all its measurements. At the same time, we happened to be studying ancient Egypt, so that we were reading a book about Archimedes at the time. Here is a list of books that relate to the study of Pi:
- Sir Cumference and Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander
- Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter (diameter of a circle) by Cindy Neuschwander
- Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (circles) by Cindy Neuschwander
- Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone (cone’s dimensions) by Cindy Neuschwander
Here are some resources to use with some of these books – http://www.homeschoolshare.com/sir_cumference.php
- Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick (the chapters near the end of the book look at Archimedes’ mathematical studies)
- Piece of Pi: Wit-sharpening, Brain-bruising, Number-Crunching Activities with Pi by Naila Bokhari (activity book)
- The Joy of Pi by David Blatner (middle to high school range)
- A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann (high school) (reference to million years old earth on first page)
Part of our day we read books, writing a notebook page summarizing what we learned about Pi on the bottom half of a notebook page and on the top half, drawing diagrams and examples of using Pi in a formula. My younger son had a worksheet with a table to fill in as he measured the circumference, diameter, and radius of objects around the house. My older son had a similar table to complete, but had an extra column where he had to use Pi to calculate the different dimensions of various circular objects around the house. Some Pi activity worksheets can be found at http://search.enchantedlearning.com/cgi-bin/uncgi/search?key=pi and edhelper.com.
To obtain different notebooking pages to write your findings of Pi, go to http://www.notebookingpages.com/index.php?page=free-lined-paper-pages.
Other Pi activities can be found at the following websites:
If you want to have your kids do a Pi lapbook, join Live and Learn Press’s Yahoo group and receive a free wonderful lapbook at liveandlearnpress.com.
You can end your Pi Day celebration like we did, by making a pizza (or ordering one) and taking its measurements using the formula. Enjoy your day making memories no one will forget!
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Using Charlotte Mason Methods
If you are looking for a way to homeschool a number of children of various age ranges, enjoy reading books with them, want to enhance their writing skills, delve into stories of historical figures and events, and minimize the use of textbooks, using Charlotte Mason’s methods may be just the right path for you to follow.
Charlotte Mason was an educator in England in the 19th century. She wanted children to learn from “living books” not textbooks. She felt children should go outside and experience nature, make observations, and record them in a nature journal. She advocated that children learned and retained information best when they listened to or read good literature and had the opportunity to narrate orally what they remembered from the reading. Their writing skills developed from reading good literature, studying it, and copying it into copy work journals, and writing down dictation. This is a simplified summary of her philosophy, but it gives you a starting point of her basic ideas. To fully understand and implement her methods you can read her original works or books that have been written summarizing her methods. These can be found at http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html.
Using Charlotte Mason’s methods, you would teach history chronologically, and can include Bible instruction if you wish. Lessons are kept short so that the child does not dawdle and includes foreign language and art and music appreciation. There are suggested curriculums you can follow at the following websites: http://amblesideonline.org/ and http://simplycharlottemason.com/.
Some homeschooling families combine the use of Charlotte Mason methods with unit study topics. They use notebooking pages to write their narrations, copy work, and dictation to document what they have learned about the theme they are studying. For example, if your family is studying the Middle Ages, you would read living books about the Middle Ages or stories set in the Middle Ages, provide copy work for your child from the book or written work from that time period, and tie in a science topic like disease (black plague) or any scientists’ biographies from that time. You would also include art and music appreciation of artists and musicians from that era. You can find ideas using a combination of Charlotte Mason’s ideas and unit study methods in our Charlotte Mason Ideas section.
This is just an introduction to the wonderful homeschooling experience you and your children can enjoy when implementing Charlotte Mason methods in your daily routine. For further information, read any of the following books: A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola; A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison; and When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today by Elaine Cooper, Eve Anderson, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, and Jack Beckman.
For free practical ideas in using Charlotte Mason methods, combining these with unit topics of study, and links to many educational resources, please journey around this website.
So, How Are You Supposed to Teach Math Using Living Books?
When you think of Charlotte Mason you think of using living books as the foundation of your studies. So, how are you supposed to use living books that you read to help your child understand and learn mathetical concepts? This is a very common question amongst homeschoolers using Charlotte Mason methods. Usually, parents find a math program that suits their child’s individual learning style, which is a major goal in homeschooling. But, what can you use to add variety and spice things up abit, or to connect what you are learning in history, science, and literature with your mathematics? That’s right, living books!
You can read fictional stories involving the use of math concepts, non-fictional books putting math concepts in real settings and examples, and biographies of mathematicians and scientists who developed or used certain math concepts. Depending upon what you are studying in math, history, or science will determine what concepts you will read and what people you will study. Tying these real books in with the study of math or history makes math come alive, making it personally significant and significant to what you are studying in other subjects.
Some examples of fictional books using a story to explain and utilize math concepts are –
Books by Mitsumasa Anno and David Adler
- Math Start
- Step into Reading + Math
- Rookie Readers – Math
Some examples of non-fiction books setting math concepts in real life situations and examining real examples are found in the following series:
Math for the Real World
Math All Around Me
When studying mathematicians or scientists in history or science, it’s fun to include a biography of the person. The children enjoy knowing what the person was like and what made them so interested in the concepts they discovered or helped to develop. My kids definitely enjoyed the stories of Archimedes and his adventures in the bathtub! These are the stories that stick and in turn help make the concepts associated with these entertaining personalities stick in our memories too!
Here are some suggested biographical resources for some famous mathematicians:
Math and Mathematicians: the history of math discoveries around the world by Leonard C. Bruno
Archimedes: Mathematical Genius of the Ancient World by Mary Gow
The Life and Times of Pythagoras by Susan and William Harkins
The Thirteen Books of Euclid’s Elements
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky
Some examples of activities you might want to include when reading any of these books might include narration at the conclusion of a chapter of a short book or at the end of a longer one, then writing a narration on a notebooking page. Your notebook page might include an explanation of the concept, formula if there is one, an example of the concept (including a math problem if that is how you use the concept), and a story example using the concept in a real life situation that your child can pull from their own experience.
You can also write a narration from one of the biographies using a biography notebooking page or a specific mathematician notebooking page, such as the one at this website http://www.homeschoolwithindexcards.com/Notebooking_Forms/MathematicianBiographySheet.pdf.
If you wish, you can incorporate the use of copywork from some of these biographies or quotes from mathematicians and then have your children do dictation from this copywork.
We have done a number of these types of books and notebooking pages. You can go further, if you come across a fun idea like our family did when we were studying Archimedes during our ancient history studies. We found out that he developed the concept of Pi that we use today. We also found out that National Pi Day was on March 14th, so we held Pi Day at our house! We read, wrote, played some problem-solving games and activities using Pi (while wearing Pi headbands). At the end of the day, we had to calculate the dimensions of our pizza pie using the formula for Pi before we could all eat our dinner.
To start your planning for Pi day, March 14th, try out this website www.exploratorium.edu/pi. To add some more fun to Pi day with a book, try reading Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander.
Here are some other websites that focus on math concepts and mathematicians for the older students:
http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/BiogIndex.html (an index for biographies of mathematicians and math topics)
We’ll be having more ideas soon for using these books, activities, and more in unit study formats soon! Remember to click on our link in the top left hand corner to subscribe to our newsletter for more ideas just like these in the future! Have fun using real books in your math study!
Abraham Lincoln Mini Unit Study
Read Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner – your child can read to you or you can read aloud.
Meet Abe Lincoln by Barbara Cary
As your child narrates to you the events of the story, you can write it for him/her on a notebooking page to place in a notebook. (See notebooking page links you can choose from below.)
You can have your younger child listen to some of the reading suggestions listed below for the older child and have them narrate to you events from these stories as well, while the older children write their own narrations.
Make a hat and have the child put notes in it and wear it just like Abe Lincoln. Make a donut shape out of black posterboard that fits over the child’s head, roll th top part of the hat and tape it and attach to the inside of the donut shape to stick up like Lincoln’s hat. Then cut a circle out to tape to cover the hole at the top of the hat.
Your child can also make a log cabin like the one Abe lived in when he was a boy. Cut out of a cereal box or light weight cardboard the sides and pointed roof of the cabin and tape together in the shape of a cabin. Cut out a door or any windows you wish to add, and glue craft sticks to the cardboard cabin to completely cover the cardboard. When the glue is dry, paint the craft sticks with brown paint.
If you would like some worksheets and more information to read with some unit study activities, click on the following link from School Express http://schoolexpress.com/ishop/software/lincoln_dg86.pdf
Intermediate and Junior High and High School Ages
Read any of the following living books:
Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, Leader, Legendby Justine and Ron Fontes (younger readers)
Abraham Lincolnby Ingri and Edgar Parin d’ Aulaire
Abraham Lincoln by James Daugherty
Abraham Lincoln’s World by Genevieve Foster (this gives you a world view of Lincoln’s time)
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz
Abraham Lincoln the Writer: a treasury of his greatest speeches and letters by Harold Haolzer (for older students, a great resource for primary documents for study, copywork, dictation, memorization, and analysis)
After reading any of these living books, have your students narrate the events from chapters as you read them together aloud as a family or individually and then have them write their narration on any of the notebooking page options listed below.
You can copy nicely worded or key sentences from the books for copywork for the children to write on any notebooking pages. After they have studied these sentences and copied them, you can dictate any sentences to them at the end of the week while they write them down.
When there are key events mentioned in the books from his life or from events occurring around the world, put these into a timeline. (an example of a timeline notebook page can be found here http://www.notebookingpages.com/index.php?page=Free-History-Notebooking-Pages )
Copywork can also include lines or the entire text from the Emancipation Proclamation or the Gettysburg Address. You can find these online or from the collected works mentioned in the book above.
A unit study for Abraham Lincoln for elementary age students can be found here in lapbook form http://www.homeschoolshare.com/abraham_lincoln_boy_who_loved_books.php
For more activity ideas, read Abraham Lincoln For Kids: his life and times with 21 activities by Janis Herbert
Have your older and high school students write an essay or prepare a persuasive speech for debate about Lincoln’s actions and reasons for instituting the Emancipation Proclamation. Did he do it for the slaves or save the union? Look at this link to analyze and prepare for this discussion and write your position. http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/pdf/liberty_and_justice_for_all.pdf
Notebooking links to choose from
http://www.homeschoolshare.com/docs54367/AbrahamLincolnNtbkpgs.pdf (this one is written to work with the
d’ Aulaire book)
http://homeschool.consumerhelpweb.com/basics/notebooking-pages.htm (you can use the blank biography notebooking page or the 1/2 inch Abraham Lincoln page)
http://www.notebookingpages.com/index.php?page=Free-Biography-Notebooking-Pages (a variety of blank biography notebooking pages to choose from)
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