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THe HoW aND Pi oF iT………….

December 17, 2008

My son wants to solve pi.

Now we are talking. Finally some 6th grade homework I can get my fork around. Really??

pi-does-not-equal-pi
That’s really too bad. It really, really is too bad. But, I think I’ve got it.

Realization number 1.
Not that kind of pie. Pi. No “e” – huh? No pecans, no whip cream? Huh, huh? Can we at least work on this after dinner – a little homework dessert if you will?

Realization number 2.
Bear and I do not think alike in the realm of math. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Not even a 3.14 little bit.

We got through the left brain/right brain communication conflict and I think I might actually understand what he means. It turns out that pi is an irrational number. No kidding. I’d say it’s irrational – wanting to be used to solve math equations – the nerve. And apparently even thinking about it can cause irrational behavior.

Realization number 3.
Being irrational has little to do with the way pi behaves (or Bear for that matter) and much more to do with the fact that pi has an infinite string of numbers following the decimal. Pi represents the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle. Huh? I am not clear on why you would ever need to know that, but okay. (Please don’t correct me if I got that wrong – it will send my mind in to an immediate meltdown and I still have to work on math with my first grader. She wants to learn multiplication. I have explained zero and one, but she is interested in all the other numbers. Good Heavens.)

So anypi, Bear wants to solve it. Pi is often more simply represented as 3.14 for those of us who don’t have any more toes than that to count on and because it makes it easier to actually use in calculations. See Bear, there is a reason they rounded it off. And by “they” I mean mathematicians, the romans, possibly Einstein himself – someone who knew of what they spoke. Not me – I did not make it up just to make you crazy. Promise. ( I have pictures of you as a baby – no need for pi.)

Realization number 4.
I could care less what the relationship between the circumference and diameter of a circle is. Unless you are talking about a circle in the shape of a cookie. Yummy. Or perhaps a circle in the shape of diamond earrings. Pretty. But I guess if you really must know one or the other, you can use my new friend pi to figure it out.

And finally.
By solving pi, Bear means he wants to keep dividing the circumference of any circle by the diameter of that same circle – and carry that division problem out until it actually ends. That relationship is supposed to equal pi no matter what circle you use – apparently even an oreo would work. He wants to find out what the very last number at the end of the string of numbers in pi is. Scientist have used mega computers to carry that out 1,000 places. And poor Bear is left with his mega (non) computer called mom. Seriously, this isn’t going to end well. And if you buy into the whole irrational number theory – it is never going to end. Oh goody.

Now I am off to the kitchen. I just remembered that pies come in the shape of a circle. This still might work out okay. Endless pie wouldn’t be so bad. Yeah, yeah, we just went through this pi does not equal pie. DANG it!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2008 10:15 am

    I always ask for a Pi serving of Pie… meaning, I get 3.14 slices!

  2. December 19, 2008 1:20 pm

    Lola – I am sure I got half of this wrong. Bear is only in 6th grade – I have a long road ahead of me.

    Josie – if doctors aren’t even using this kind of math, then I say we don’t need it! 😎

  3. Josie permalink
    December 19, 2008 9:53 am

    So funny! Ok I see where I am going to have to come for my daily dose of humor! Even I, Miss prior Math geek and physics major, have completely forgotten all this useless information. Is it really necessary to teach this anymore? Does ANYONE use this in the real world? Computers figure all this stuff out.

  4. December 19, 2008 1:02 am

    Oh, Ellen, I hate math so much that I couldn’t even read half of those words without getting queasy. I’m in for it if the boy doesn’t pick this stuff up in school.

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