Student Focus: Sungwoo Cho, a Math-Loving Student

Written by Clair McEnhill (Year 4 Teacher)

Lots of people find Mathematics challenging…lots of people think endless lists of numbers are confusing…but not Sungwoo Cho! Sungwoo loves Mathematics and finds those endless lists of numbers interesting and intriguing.

Pi Day was a special day for Sungwoo as it was a celebration of Mathematics. He was very excited to explore this special number further. Pi is a very important number. It influences many parts of our everyday life. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction, equivalently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern.

Sungwoo found this idea of an infinite number very exciting and when set the task of creating a poster to advertise Pi Day he wanted to see how many decimal places he could find for Pi. At home, Sungwoo worked with his parents to research, print, cut out and stick in a long strip pi to 600 decimal places. Amazed by his effort, his teachers and classmates helped him stick the long line of numbers around the centre courtyard windows.

However, Sungwoo was not sated with this relatively small collection of numbers, and went away and managed to produce a further 2000 digits bringing the total to almost 3000 decimal places. His very long strip of paper almost reached the whole way around the centre courtyard.

Sungwoo did not just print these numbers and display them, he spent much time looking through trying to find patterns and calculating how many of each digit there were. He showed a great interest in this topic and has learnt a lot from his extra research. Sungwoo excited his classmates with this project and got everyone talking about this special number. One classmate Matthew was surprised when he saw the list and said ’Wow, I didn’t know there were so many numbers’, and another of his peers, Adison, said it was ‘Amazing how many numbers Sungwoo had found ‘. ‘The atmosphere in the classroom come Pi day was fantastic’ described his homeroom teachers. He is planning to beat his record next year and produce an even longer list for Pi.

Sungwoo shows a great interest in learning across the curriculum, he loves reading and enjoys a varied choice of books and loves learning about how things work. He is a keen soccer and basketball player and plays the violin in the school orchestra. It is always great to see students showing enthusiasm for school and the extra-curricular activities on offer.