## Kiss those Math Headaches GOODBYE!

### Pi Day in 5 Digits

Happy Pi Day … in 5 digits!

O.K., so we all know it’s Pi Day, and we all know it’s a special Pi Day because it’s not just 3.14, it’s 3.1415 since this is the year 2015. But if you really want to get technical about it, how about adding a 5th digit, the digit 9, for 3.14159 …

How to celebrate this very special moment?

First just ask yourself how would you find .9 or 9/10 of a 24-hour day?

Well, just make a proportion:  9/10 = x/24

That gives you that x = 21.6

And that means that at 21.6 hours into this day we would be celebrating the moment of Pi Day with 5 digits. And what is that time? 21.6 hours from 12 midnight would be 9:36 pm. Where I live, that’s just about half an hour from now. So I just thought that everyone might like to know about this special moment.

### Summertime Geometry Scavenger Hunt

Here’s a nice summer-days math project …

I just happened to be looking at the NM Highway signs page online a couple of days ago when I saw this nice little list of signs, just below:

NM Highway Signs

I couldn’t help but notice that there are quite a few recognizable geometric figures on this page, and I thought, “This would be a cool thing to show to kids who either have studied, or are studying geometry.”

My suggestion: Show this to your children and ask them how many geometric figures they can recognize.

### Using Color to Show Perimeter

Many things look better in color, right?

So why should that be any different  in math?

I’ve found that taking a “colorful approach” to math not only makes mathematical objects look more interesting and pleasurable, it can also make mathematical concepts more clear.

Here’s an example from something I did today — I used color to show a shortcut for finding the perimeter of rectangular-ish objects.

I was tutoring a boy who had to find the perimeter of this figure:

Right object, find perimeter

This student did not see that there is a short-cut that could help him find the perimeter. I wanted to make this clear, so I reached for my color pencils and colorized both the left vertical segment and the two right vertical segments. My goal was to help the student see that the sum of the two right vertical segments equals the long left vertical segment.

The student realized this after I colorized it. Then I used a different color, red, to show that the sum of the two horizontal segments on top equals the longer horizontal bottom segment, like this:

At this point I felt that the student was ready to see the math that relates to the whole figure, so I wrote the math, using color to relate the numbers to the colors of the sides of the figure, like this:

At this point the student was able to see the shortcut in this kind of problem, which together we wrote as follows:

This is a fairly basic example of how color can, quickly and effectively, illustrate math concepts. Feel free to share examples of how you use color in your math lessons. I’m curious to learn (and share) a variety of ways, for I see that color has great potential.

Image via Wikipedia