National Recycling Week - Time for Pi

National Recycling Week - Time for Pi

Lesson 1 of 2 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • Mathematics
  • Environmental
  • Recycling
  • Sustainability
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students use Pi to calculate the area and volume of aluminium cans. They compare a range of methods to estimate the value of Pi.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • analyse cylinders to establish formulas for surface area
  • solve authentic problems.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 9 Mathematics:  

  • Calculate the surface area and volume of cylinders and solve related problems (ACMMG217)

Time needed: 50 min

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – encourage students to think outside the ‘square’ when trying to come up with creative solutions for circles

Resources required

  • Washed aluminium cans
  • Rulers
  • Callipers
  • Accurate measuring jugs or weighing scales
  • String
  • Protractors and any other equipment students might wish to try to solve their problems
  • There’s an app for that: Pi – Fastest Pi(π) computation/benchmark program

Assumed prior learning:  Used compass, draw circles, measure length accurately, understands the concept of approximation, used different units of volume and weight, has used volume measuring flasks/cups


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Problem solving 

Additional info

Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week started in 1996 to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling. This highly regarded annual campaign continues to educate and stimulate behaviour change by promoting kerbside, industrial and community recycling initiative. It also gives people the tools to minimise waste and manage material resources responsibly at home, work and school. In partnership with Planet Ark, we have developed lessons from early learning through to year 10 to help educators bring these important topics into the classroom.

National Recycling Week is held in the second week of November each year but you can recycle all year-round with these lessons which were designed to be used at any time. Click here to find out more about National Recycling Week and the Schools Recycle Right Challenge. 

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