Taking Pi to Court

The center circle and bisecting midline of the basketball court and soccer field make perfect large scale pi labs. If you have access to either, have the students measure both the circumference and diameter and show in the real world how the circumference is just over three times the length of the diameter. This visualization could last a lifetime with every basketball and soccer game serving as a reminder.


It may be easiest to measure with a simple segment of rope cut to the length of the diameter, and carefully laid down about the circumference three times with a small (.14) gap trying to complete circle. If it is indoors or the weather is good outdoors, have the students take off their shoes and lay them along the diameter, and then use the same sequence of shoes to measure the circumference placing them down three times with a small gap left over. Could this be how the English gave the world the “foot” unit of measurement? (Your results may vary slightly due to measurement inaccuracies.)