Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi -  A Math Adventure
Author: Cindy Neuschwander
Illustrator: Wayne Geehan
Ages: 6-12


Quick - what is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter? A number called 'pi' you say? Did you just go back to your middle school days when you first encountered this very interesting number?! Now how about a medieval fantasy around the concept, complete with a dragon and knights, and one that will make your kid chuckle and chortle, like it did to mine?! 

Radius and his father Sir Cumference are eating lunch when suddenly the father's stomach starts to burn. Radius runs to the castle to get help from the doctor who, it so happens, is not in. Radius takes the wrong (as he discovers later) cure back which turns the father into a dragon much to their huge shock!

Radius runs back to the castle to get help again. The king's soldiers also notice the dragon and send for knights to deal with him. Radius rushes to his mother Lady Di of Ameter and tells her the whole story. Together they set out to turn Sir Cumference back to a knight before any damage is done. Radius goes back to the doctor's chambers where after much searching he chances upon a carafe which says:
Measure the middle and circle around
Divide so a number can be found
Every circle great and small
The number is the same for all
It's also the dose, so be clever,
Or a dragon he will stay..
Forever.

Radius ponders over it and decides to check with Geo of Metry and his brother Sym, who are carpenters. They are making a wheel with spokes, which sets him thinking further. On the way back he bumps into his cousin who is baking pies. He takes some strips of dough and arranges them like spokes of a wheel on the pie. Then he takes more strips of the same length and measures the rim of the pie. He finds that he needs three strips and a bit more than an eighth more.

He goes back to Geo's workshop and checks several wheels of different sizes and finds that the rim is always about 31/7 the length of the spoke. He checks again at home with an onion ring, a basket, a bowl and a round of cheese. 

After all the excitement of the discovery, Radius falls into an exhausted sleep. He wakes up to find that it is morning and rushes to where his father is. The dragon is lying in a circle. Radius measures the diameter and the outside of the dragon circle. All this while the knights are closing in upon them. Radius calculates the ratio to be the same - about 22/7. He spoons out three and a seventh spoonfuls of the medicine from the carafe and as the knights are about to pounce upon him, the dragon gulps the potion down and changes back to his human self!

There is much cheering around and they all return to the castle triumphantly. When Sir Cumference learns that his son discovered the magic number thanks to pies, he declares that the number would be called 'pi'. The Metry brothers, Geo and Sym then present Radius with a drawing compass and wish him many more fruitful discoveries concerning circles. Much merry-making happens during the celebration, which lasts, you guessed it - 3 days, 3 hours and 24 minutes!

Incidentally, there are four more tales of the valiant Radius and his adventures in the many lands of Mathematical Concepts. Do look out for them and join in the merry-making!

9 comments:

starry eyed said...

Oh this sounds hilarious and entertaining...what a lovely way to make Geometry fun!! Will keep a lookout! Esp lol-ed at Geo and Sym Metry!

sandhya said...

Wow! Loved the imagination of the author, who surely must be a montessorian. Loved the fact that the parents of Radius are Sir Cumference and Ladi Di of Ameter! And the supposed origin of the name pi!
Must look out for this one. Will be certainly relished.

Vibha said...

What a wondeful way to make the concepts interesting. Thanks Chox.

Praba said...

hmm...what can I say? Can't stop ROTFL - such a well-rounded pick, Chox. ST has indeed come full circle, Chox. (wink,wink!);)

ranjani.sathish said...

Fascinating. The ideas that people come up with, so creatively, are mind blowing !

sathish said...

Very funny chox. I imagine that Sir Circumference would be rather well endowed before he turns into a dragon!!

ChoxBox said...

Starry: Me too!

Sandhya: The entire series is hilarious, had read another one of them at a bookshop one time.

Vibs: You would love the book :)

P: Danke!

Ranjani: Those were my thoughts too.

Sathish: He was rather lean actually but you are right, he should technically be well-endowned and rounder!

Sheela said...

Sounds delightful, Chox, thanks! have to bookmark the Math Fun books from now on...

Anonymous said...

HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW these people need to get lives

Related Posts with Thumbnails