5 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day in your Math Classroom

March 14, 2015 – just another Saturday? Not in the math world, and definitely not this year. 3.14.15 is the Pi Day of all Pi Days (as well as Einstein’s birthday). No matter what the age group, π is an important concept for math students to understand and Pi Day is the perfect excuse to build better understanding. Rather than just bringing a pie to school, playing around with the value, or seeing how many place values your students can memorize, dive into the what π really is. Here are 5 resources worth checking out and sharing with your students come Monday morning (better late than never).

1. Know Your History. What makes math so incredible is it’s rich history and powerful ideas that when brought to life make our lives easier and much more efficient. Check out The Exploratorium’s webpage dedicated to this year’s Pi Day. The site shares a great recount of the constant’s history as well as more resources for Pi Day fun.

2. Rethink the Pie and Talk. As Joseph Mazur notes in his Slate article: A Very Special Pi Day, if you want kids to really learn about π:

Have them try to bake a square cake of the same height and area of a circular pie. They will find that they cannot measure the cake and pie with the same ruler, exactly. They would learn that there is absolutely no relationship between π and pie! Yes, most pies are circular, but that’s where the analogy ends. You bake pie. You esteem π, or maybe you don’t.

3. Find Your Birthday. According to Wolfram, pretty much any birthday can be found within the first 10 million digits of π. This year they created a code to find birthdays, the images below show the Wolfgam language code, or you could just go to mypiday.com. Either way don’t miss the opportunity to talk coding and its amazing possibilities. 

pi-day-in1 pi-day-in2

4. Get Your Facts Straight. Teach your students more about π with infographics like this one (found on pinterest). Better yet, have your students research facts and create their own infographics or webpages. Tools like VenngagePiktochart or Weebly can make gathering and sharing information more fun for students.

Visualizing Pi
5. Read A Story. The power of storytelling can be applied to math too. Choose a book like Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander and start a discussion. The key here is the conversation, so don’t just read the story and call it good, make sure that your students are able to find and explain the connections between the story and the mathematical concepts.

How are you going to make this Pi Day special? We want to hear about it! Tweet ideas to me with @MegMarMe using #SmartMath or share below. Happy Pi Day y’all!

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