Today is Pi Day! To celebrate as well as have some creative fun, my kids and I participated in the second round of the “Film on the Fly” mobile phone video challenge sponsored by the Orange County, California PBS television affiliate KOCE-TV. The story prompt was sent by text message and email to participants this morning at noon CST. This was the prompt:

Show how Pi determines the circumference or diameter of a pizza, carousel, Ferris Wheel or any circle near you.

Here is our contest entry, “Why We Need Pi,” which is just under 3 minutes long:

This is the video description I added to YouTube for the video.

A cell phone recorded video created on March 14 ,2009, for the Film on the Fly movie contest. The Pi Day story prompt was: “Show how Pi determines the circumference or diameter of a pizza, carousel, Ferris Wheel or any circle near you.” Since we were visiting relatives in Wichita, Kansas, today we chose to use the Century II building in our movie. Century II is the convention center in downtown Wichita, and it is shaped like a perfect circle. By calculating the diameter of the building using Google Earth, we were able to calculate the circumference (or perimeter) of the entire building. Learn more about Film on the Fly on This was a Speed of Creativity Production –

After planning the different scenes of this amazing film, I recorded the video segments on my cell phone and edited it together using iMovie HD.

What fun! I’m sure my kids (particularly my son who was the mathematician in this movie) will never forget this activity! They’re also quite likely to remember how to calculate circumference of a circle as a result as well!

Thanks to Karen Montgomery and Steve Dembo for encouraging me to participate in this round of “Film on the Fly!” All official entries to the contest will be added in the next few days to the contest Ning website, which anyone is free to join. Members can help rate videos to select this round’s winner! If you want to see submitted videos even sooner, search YouTube for the tag “FOTFPi.”

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3 Responses to Why We Need Pi

  1. You make this look so easy. I’ve enjoyed your posts and tweets, learning so much. This is yet another example of how you take that technology which we use everyday and combine them into a fantastic lesson and learning experience. Thanks.

  2. AllanahK says:

    Impressive stuff- particularly the long multiplication by hand on the window. A nice spot of improvisation.

  3. Pat says:

    This was wonderful! I love having the kids explain it in their own words. I think this would be more meaningful to students than just some teacher explaining it.

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