On March 14, many students across the country will be paying homage to one of the most important irrational numbers – Pi (or π), the mathematical constant that represents the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter. Here at IES, we are celebrating Pi Day in two ways – one, by highlighting two projects that are helping students better understand and apply pi and other geometry concepts, and two, by daydreaming about the other kind of pie (more on that below).
Highlighting Two IES-Funded Geometry Projects
Julie Booth (Temple University) and colleagues are developing and testing an intervention, GeometryByExample, to improve student learning of high school geometry. GeometryByExample provides strategically designed, worked-example based assignments of varied geometric content for students to complete in class in place of more typical practice assignments. Instead of solving all of the practice problems themselves, students study correct or incorrect examples of solutions to half of the problems and respond to prompts asking them to write explanations of why those procedures are correct or incorrect.
Candace Walkington and colleagues are exploring how the interaction between collaboration and multisensory experiences affects geometric reasoning. They are using augmented reality (AR) technology to explore different modalities for math learning, such as a hologram, a set of physical manipulatives, a dynamic geometry system (DGS) on a tablet, or a piece of paper. Each of these modalities has different affordances, including the degree to which they can represent dynamic transformations, represent objects and operations in 3 dimensions, support joint attention, and provide situational feedback. Researchers have developed an experimental platform that uses AR and situates experimental tasks in an engaging narrative story. The overarching research questions they are exploring are (1) How does shared AR impact student understanding of geometric principles? (2) how are these effects mediated by gesture, language, and actions? and (3) how are these effects moderated by student and task characteristics?
The Other Kind of Pi(e)
Baking pies with the pi symbol is another fun way to celebrate the day, so in the spirit of that, we asked NCER and NCSER staff about their favorite pie flavors. Below is a pie graph with the results – not much consensus on flavor, but it’s clear we all love pie. Happy Pi Day!
This chart shows NCER and NCSER staff pie preferences in percentages: Apple 19%, Cherry 19%, Chocolate 12%, Key Lime 12%, Peach 6%, Pecan 19%, and Rhubarb 13%.
Written by Christina Chhin (Christina.Chhin@ed.gov) and Erin Higgins (Erin.Higgins@ed.gov), NCER Program Officers.