Math Monday::Labyrinth Math and Pi!


The 80 degree weather continued this week, so math was outside again. The Creative Math Club has been working with compasses to explore circles, and we continued our exploration outside at a giant labyrinth. Sonja came up with the idea to meet there, with the idea that the kids could literally get inside a circle and walk in and around it. So fabulous! And, they did. Before we started anything official, we all walked the path of the labyrinth–even Frito.

walking the path

We talked about lots of things as we wound our way along the path. The difference between a labyrinth and a maze, if life was more like a labyrinth or a maze, how we liked walking along the path. Some kids found the labyrinth boring compared to a tricky maze, others enjoyed it more. It is endlessly fascinating to ask kids an open ended question and listen to what they say!

Once they had a good feel for the size of the circle, Sonja brought out some measuring tools and we started measuring the labyrinth. First, we opened it up to the kids to problem solve how to find the diameter of the very large labyrinth–it didn’t take them long to take the radius and double it!

Finding the Diameter

Then, they set to work finding the circumference of the labyrinth. This was a joy to watch. I think it ended up being appx. 150 feet, and it took all of them working as a team to come up with how to get the measurement right. First they strung a string around the outside of the circle, then straightened out and measured it. It was something like 2,225 inches.

It takes a village to find a circumference.

Once they did that, Sonja asked them how many times the diameter fit around the circumference. More measuring. Discovered it went around 3 times plus a little bit. Then we gave them other round objects and had them see how many times the radius of each circle went around those circumferences.


All items had the same answer…about 3 times plus a little bit. Even the oreos!

Here’s Sonja–she brought out some Pie to go with the oreos, and then read a bit on the history of Pi.

New BFF.

After the club, Naturalist realized that her summer camp would interfere with math club. I told her we would probably stop math club until September, and she begged to keep it going all summer long. Then she paused and said, “I can’t believe I just said that!”.

If you’ve got a labyrinth nearby, I highly recommend getting out and measuring it (as long as no one is trying to have a spiritual journey on it.) Here’s a nifty Labyrinth finder: