Maths is a Piece of Pi(e)
On March 14, students throughout Yew Chung International School of Beijing were busy celebrating Pi Day, the annual global celebration of mathematics. Named after the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 because the number pi begins with 3.14, which resembles this date.
Our students from years 1 – 12 had lots of fun on Pi Day, coming to school in their house colours to compete in maths centred challenges and enjoy a taste of maths sprinkled throughout all the day’s lessons. Primary school students, years 1-4, spent the morning taking part in maths challenges devised along age appropriate themes for each of their years, including:
- Year 1 – mental maths exercises
- Year 2 – Roald Dahl inspired maths exercises
- Year 3 – reciting Pi to the largest number of digits, among other activities
- Year 4 – maths competitions
Our secondary school students’ maths challenges began at lunch time for year 5 students, with years 6-12 joining in after lunch. The secondary school Mathematics Department had year 12 students host the afternoon’s competitions, using their fifth period to set up an array of logic and strategy games, along with hands on maths puzzles in the auditorium.
Following our Pi Day festivities, YCIS Beijing’s Primary School Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator, Devreaux Poole shared a few tips for parents to incorporate mathematics fun into their children’s lives outside school.
- Be hands on: Making maths tangible is key to making maths fun and accessible, particularly for younger children. Activities such as baking provide a great opportunity to teach about weights, measures, fractions and percentages. Plus perhaps most importantly, offer a safe way to demonstrate the consequences of getting your figures wrong as well as the sweet taste of success.
- Tie it to their Interest: If your children like Harry Potter, why not make potions? Look up some safe simple potions formulas online and get to work. This can be a great way to get kids engaged with doing calculations as they watch their creations fizz or change colours, etc.
- Make it relevant: Older children who are able to grasps slightly more abstract concepts such as time and exchange rates might enjoy helping to plan a family holiday. Whether it’s for a real or imagined trip, have them use maths to set up timetables scheduling for the trip itinerary and have them calculate a budget working out foreign exchange rates, etc.
While our students had a ball during Pi Day, maths is central to life at YCIS Beijing every day. We pride ourselves on the strength of our maths programme. Our diverse teaching staff and commitment to truly bilingual and bicultural education allows us to provide students with a multi-faceted approach to maths, all underpinned by a shared common core of methods and strategies. We also work to reach students in the language that they best understand, to prevent their English proficiency from impacting their maths lessons.