Learning Exercise

History of Pi and Buffon’s Needle

Students are directed to visit the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive and to read an extensive online article entitled History of Pi; in addition, they make use of an interactive simulation of Buffon's Needle experiment. Afterwards, they answer several questions on how mathematicians calculated approximations for the value of pi and on the formulas that they used. In a subsequent class session, the instructor demonstrates a Java applet that simulates Buffon's Needle experiment in a cumulative manner. In a think-pair-share activity or write-pair-share activity, students analyze and discuss Buffon's experiment and its relationship to the value of pi.
Course: Liberal Arts Math

Discussion of a technique for estimating pi, by dropping a needle between parallel lines. see more


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