Hannah the Homeschooling Horse (and Her Human Friend) Learn About Pi

December brought a LOT of changes for the Bkwurm family, one of the biggest of which is that our youngest daughter (9) is now going to be homeschooling! Or perhaps I should say that Hannah the horse will be homeschooling, and Hannah’s human friend will be homeschooling with her. As the first “official” week of homeschooling, we took things a bit slow, doing research and review, getting the advice of teacher friends and fellow homeschoolers, and laying our plans for a fun and fruitful rest of the year.

Hannah did dive into math this week, however, and learned about circles, circumference, diameter, and Pi. (Hannah was a bit disappointed when she learned this was not the pie she thought it was, until I relented and agreed that we could learn about Pi, and then make pie.)

Apple Pie

Hannah and her human friend.

We started with Cindy Neuschwander’s fantastic series of math adventure storybooks about Sir Cumference. The first seven of these great books can be found in the Reading Rainbow App, so our first step was to grab the iPad and read the first two books: Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, and Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. The first of these books introduces students to a number of different shapes as King Arthur, his faithful knight Sir Cumference, and the carpenter Geo of Metry search for the perfect shape for a table for the King and his knights.

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander in the Reading Rainbow App.

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander in the Reading Rainbow App.

In the second book, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, Sir Cumference swallows a mysterious potion which turns him into a dragon. His son Radius and wife Lady Di of Ameter must find the correct dose for Sir Cumference’s cure: a magic number that is the same for all circles, regardless of their size.

Pie Diameter

Measuring diameter

Measuring circumference

Measuring circumference

After reading this book Hannah and her human friend had to go around the house and yard measuring the circumference and diameter of all the circles they could find (including a pie crust) then dividing the first number by the second to find if that magic number (3.14) was really the same for ALL circles. Guess what? It was!

Working the sums

Working the sums

So now Hannah knows the formula: Circumference ÷ Diameter = 3.14 = π (Pi)

Hannah also learned that if you can find either the circumference or the diameter, then you can use Pi to find the missing measurement.

Now if you’ll excuse us, it’s time for some pie.

Time for Pie!

Time for Pie!