Pi Toss

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In this activity, learners explore a surprising method for calculating the mathematical constant pi, known as Buffon's Needle. Learners will randomly toss toothpicks into the air over a sheet of paper with two parallel lines and use simple math to approximate Pi. Activity includes step-by-step instructions, a video demonstration, and an in-depth explanation of the equations and concepts behind this method of calculation.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional: protractor, graph paper


  • Mathematics


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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