# How Parents Can Help their Middle School Children Succeed in Math

I was at a meeting today where we were discussing some of the challenges that we face as math educators and things that we can do to help boost student achievement.  One of the things that was brought up at the meeting was parental involvement in children’s learning of math.  Many of our students’ parents did not learn to do things the same way that we are teaching their children to do them.  Many do not remember the math they learned in 6th-8th grade.  Many struggled with math when they were growing up and therefore do not feel confident helping their children with it.  For all of those reasons (and more), a large number of parents do not know how to help their child be successful in math.

In reflecting on this, I came up with the following list of some of the ways in which I think that parents can help their child succeed in middle school math:

Christina

# Pi Day: Ideas for celebrating 3.14

Pi Day (March 14th)  is fast approaching!!  With standardized testing all week, I really haven’t been doing much teaching, so I thought it would be fun to share how I plan to celebrate the biggest math holiday of the year with my classes next week…

My Pi Day celebration begins with a little prep work at home:

– I make a couple of pies to bring in for my classes.  I usually make Oreo Cool Whip pies as they tend to be a hit with the kids (and only take about 5 minutes to make)!  I also allow my students to bring in their own pies so that there is  a variety and something for everybody.

I always use my special pi plate for one of my pies! (A student gave it to me as a gift years ago).

– I also make a bunch of chocolate pi symbols in my pi ice cube tray.  (Another gift from a former student).  I use these as prizes for the games we play in class.

This ice cube tray makes the perfect chocolate pi mold!

– I tell my students a couple of days ahead of time that I will be holding a pi digit memorization contest on Pi Day so they can study the digits if they plan to participate in the contest.  I also do a pi poetry contest where the students who are interested type up a poem about pi ahead of time and bring it in on the big day.

On Pi Day I do different activities with each class

– I have my 6th graders bring in cylindrical objects on 3/14.  I have them “discover” pi by measuring the circumference and diameter of their objects using a string and dividing the circumference by the diameter.  We keep track of everyone’s results and come up with a class average which is (usually) pretty close to pi.  We eat pie during class and the students who entered the poetry contest read their poems to the class.  I then do the memorization contest with them.  The student with the most digits memorized gets one of my chocolate pi’s that I made in the ice cube tray.

– My 7th graders have already learned circumference and area so I have them do a page of challenging pie-themed word problems dealing with circumference & area.  I give a chocolate pi to the student who correctly completes the 5 word problems first.  After the word problems, I play circle bingo with the kids.  The bingo game requires them to either find the radius, diameter, circumference, or area of a circle.  The winner of the bingo game (you guessed it…) gets a chocolate pi!  I then have students share their pi poems and do the memorization contest with my 7th graders.  The kids, of course, eat pie during class, as well.

– I like to play Pi Trivia with my 8th graders while they enjoy their pie.  I break the kids up into groups of 4 and ask them a bunch of random facts relating to Pi.  Each group holds up their answer on a mini whiteboard and I keep track of the score.  The members of the winning group each get a chocolate pi symbol.  Some of the questions are academically focused while others are humor-based.  I conclude class with the poetry reading and memorization contest with them, as I do with my 6th and 7th graders.

– During my lunch, I have some of the other teachers vote on the best pi poems and come up with a winner for each grade level.  The winners, of course, go home with chocolate pi symbols!

– I like to celebrate pi minute with whichever class happens to be in my room at 1:59, too.  We start cheering loudly (and sometimes some of the nearby classes pick up on it and cheer, too)!

All-in-all it is a very fun, exhausting, and FATTENING day….but well worth it!  It’s always a great day!

This bundle contains the Pi discovery activity I do with my 6th graders, the Pi bingo game I play with my 7th graders, and several other circle-themed activities –  Circumference, Area, & More: A Circle Bundle.

I would love to hear ideas of how other teachers celebrate 3.14, so please feel free to share in a comment below!

Wishing you all a very happy Pi Day!!