Pi Day (with minimal mention of digits)

Today, we celebrated our belated Pi Day! It was delayed due to inclement weather…


Though my #MTBoS friends were there to comfort me in my time of need!

Our spring trimester focus is always financial literacy. So, we spent most of last week researching recipes, planning for a shopping trip, going to the bank, shopping for ingredients, and making pies. Yes, I said it. We made pies for Pi Day, sue me! Now, finally the time had come to eat our pies, but first…we had to do some more math!

First we reviewed of some of the digits of Pi, highlighting that when rounded to the nearest hundredth it matches the numerical date of March 14th, which is subsequently known as “Pi Day” for this reason. I also wore my Pi shirt, which gives the students an opportunity to see that there are A LOT of digits in this number known as Pi and that I’m a nerd. We did, however, skip the traditional digit memorization activity for several reasons including working memory and tedious boredom.

Instead we estimated, explored, and discovered the circumference formula with our pies and some string.

Continue reading

Financial Literacy: Shopping

One of the major components of our school’s mathematics curriculum is our spring financial literacy unit.  The reason we focus on this for so long is that for our students to become successful independent adults they need to be able to use money effectively in the community.  The three components of our financial literacy unit are shopping, banking, and budgeting.

Our students have learning and developmental disabilities that impact how they relate to the outside world.  It is often hard for our students to transfer what we teach in class for use in the community.  Students who seem to have mastered a skill in class may not be able to demonstrate this mastery when needed in the community.  The theory and problems with the transfer of learning have been well documented (here and here).  This is why we go out into the community as part of our financial literacy unit.  We want to see what the students can do when faced with using these mathematical skills in the “real world.”

I have written in the past about how we are integrating MathTwitterBlogosphere (#MTBoS) resources for our financial literacy unit.

Thanks Graham, what a good idea!

This will be the first in a series of posts about our financial literacy unit.  The focus of this post will be shopping.

Continue reading