Using PI Day to Teach Data Literacy

Mar 12, 2021 10:15 AM ET

By Emily Strickland, 7th grade Math, GCS Virtual program, EDP Director, Beck Academy

Where to begin with Pi? At the end? That might take a while – since there isn’t one! In fact, that’s what people love about this mysterious mathematical constant: its never-ending string of digits, which we generally shorten to 3.14, but which is indeed infinite. As the most famous example in the world of irrational numbers, Pi cannot be written as a ratio of two integers, meaning it has a decimal that goes on forever, without ever producing a pattern…at least so far!

Pi Day is not only a fascinating mathematical concept and number, it’s also a fun way to connect the classroom to data. With no-cost content from Discover Data – an education initiative powered by the Nielsen Foundation in collaboration with Discovery Education and the National Afterschool Association – students in grades 6-12 and educators have critical learning resources at their fingertips to seamlessly integrate data literacy wherever learning takes place.

Whether it’s Pi day or any other day – here are a couple of my favorite data-driven classroom resources to inspire students to think like 21st Century problem solvers:

Data in My Day
In this 10-15 minute self-paced eLearning module, students travel through a typical day to investigate everyday occurrences and discover where and how data and data science play a part. Students explore the many ways data can be used, along with various data-driven careers.

Women and Gender Equity
By comparing and contrasting sets of data, students will pose questions and evaluate claims related to the changing roles of women. Letting the statistical data speak for itself, students will evaluate the progress women have made, particularly in leadership, sports, and entertainment.

A Winning Smile
This 45-minute student activity guides students to predict how much potential an athlete has to be selected for ads and endorsements.

In addition to these activities, Discover Data connects the classroom to careers by showcasing many of the incredible ways data powers our everyday lives. From data engineers and scientists to account managers and client relations, data unites and powers industries. By seeing people like them in data-focused careers, where they use and harness data in their real lives, students can gain skills and inspiration that will help them innovate the future, starting today.

Discovery Education users can find all the Discover Data content on the Corporate Education partnerships channel of K-12 learning platform.