Using Comics to Teach Pi
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to incorporate my comics into the Pi Day celebration at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio. With a Pi symbol on my t-shirt, I melded hula hoops and comics into a memorable hands-on activity. There are several reasons why comics made this activity more impactful than other.
- Comics Make Information Accessible
Struggling readers tend to shut down when they are faced with traditional reading passages. Comics make the content less intimidating and break up the content into manageable chunks.
- Directions in Comic Form
Presenting directions for hands-on activities in a visual format ensures more students will read the directions. The illustrations depict the steps quickly and can maintain short attention spans.
- Retention Improves
Research reveals tying content with images helps improve retention because it taps into different aspects of learning. Retention improves when students want to read.
- Instant Engagement
Grab their attention! The captivating nature of comics leads to more engagement. Comics make reading content FUN.
The Pi Symbol and Complete Lesson Plan
The Pi Day celebration at the museum was a big hit, and I witnessed dozens of children taking an active role in learning about Pi. They loved being able to discover Pi through hands-on measuring. As a result, they left the event knowing Pi is more than just a symbol. In response, I created a complete lesson plan to share with other upper elementary and middle school math teachers giving them the ability to easily do the same thing in their classroom. Witness the joy on the faces of your upper elementary and middle school students when they get their hands on these comics.
Engaging Content Illustrating the Pi Symbol and More
Take advantage of the graphic novel craze and grab their attention immediately. The comic-style content covers more than just the Pi symbol. Read about how we use Pi in real life, why Pi is considered an irrational number, and how it helps us measure circular objects. Students will be eager to read the information.
Comic-Style Follow-up Worksheets
Maintain engagement with the shareable Google slideshow and the multiple supplementals. Reinforce understanding with Doodle Notes and follow-up worksheets that maintain the comic style. Add these supplementals to interactive notebooks enabling students to reference them in future classes. Easy to print and fun to color!
Finding the Pi Symbol with Hands-on Fun
Recently revamped, the hands-on activity is low prep and easy to recreate. Students will follow along with the visual directions as they find Pi by measuring the circumference and diameter of hula hoops. The activity is accompanied by a lab sheet to help students organize their measurements.
The Impact of a Hands-on Approach to Learning Pi
Thinking about my experience as a student in math class, I remember very little hands-on learning. Everything was focused on practice and drills. The Pi symbol was taught and a few formulas were taught, and we were expected to just apply them to solve problems.
Traditionally, students can learn about the Pi symbol and memorize the formulas, but this approach does not ensure long-term retention. This approach leads to more boredom.
Get learners involved in the process of discovering the information, and witness how easily they grasp and remember the concept.
Making learning FUN and ACTIVE is imperative to the success of a lesson. Harness these qualities with comics and witness the impact on student success rates. Try them today. Your students will thank you.
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