Pretty much any day is a good day to eat Pi(e) but 3.14 is National Pi Day and this year Pi Day is Friday! So how will you celebrate Pi Day with your students?
Pi Day Circle Up
- Beyond the Garden GATE Shari Bithell says, “I love Pi Day — it is one of the best days of the school year in my classroom! We have sPItacular fun with math all day long! My students PI-ify their names and create mascots for their teams (like the PI-rates). We have Pi contests, Pi races, Pi games, Pi challenges, Pi riddles, a Pi scavenger hunt and Pi eating fun!”
- Mrs Bearfield’s Class says, “When I was in high school we had a Pi reciting contest. I came in 2nd with 101 decimal places. Oh and guess what the prize was? … A Pie!”
- Meredith Anderson also loves Pi! “My kids and I always make some kind of pie, and we usually make bracelets or necklaces, as well as eat many circle snacks throughout the day. Even when my youngest was not quite 3, he got in on the fun making a pi pasta necklace — math lovers of all ages can get in on the fun!”
- SamizdatMath concurs that all students can get in on the fun, “My school does a lot of activities, with older students working with younger students. Our PreK works with 6th graders to mix pancake batter and then we use a hot plate to make pancakes. They use different sized scoops to see how big a pancake each scoop of batter will make, then take banana slices and use them to measure and compare the diameter and circumference of the circle. The 1st and 5th grades get together and form a big kid/small kid circle; they then see how many kids it takes to get across the circle. They see that the number of kids around is about three times the number of kids across. We also do similar activities using pennies around and across a circle, as well as using ribbon.”
Who Hid the Pi?
- Some handy ways teachers help their students “find” pi: “I have my 6th graders ‘discover’ pi by having each student measure the circumference of a circular or cylindrical item and dividing it by the diameter of it. We keep track of the results and come up with a class average which is (hopefully) around 3.14. I play circle bingo with my 7th graders. The winners get chocolate pi symbols I make ahead of time in my pi ice cube tray a student gave me years ago.” Says Math in the Middle.
- 4 the Love of Math suggests, “I usually have students bring in circled objects (food if they so choose — which they usually do!) and then we find the circumference of all of our circles. Then, we enjoy snacking on what was brought in afterwards. I usually have a few circles (like a hula hoop) of mine own available to measure too!”
Jill Powers says, “We do a webquest to learn more about pi and Albert Einstein (whose birthday is March 14th). Last year I added some questions about autism to the activity. This year I polished it up for TPT. I also have my students make pi bracelets using a different color or type of bead for each digit. Boys and girls love this activity. I have an optional Pi Day Memorization contest. This is optional, but each year I seem to have someone knock a person from the all-time top ten list. Anyone cracking the top ten list wins their favorite pie. I started the contest in 2003. #1 on the list for reciting pi memorized 407 digits.”
Don’t Pi for Me Argentina
- It’s nice to know Pi Day can span many subject areas. The Bulletin Board Lady-Tracy King teaches music and incorporates pi in this way, “As a music teacher I’ve recognized Pi Day in a couple of different ways. March is also Music In Our Schools Month so the more collaborative I can be, the better. What better way to celebrate music in our schools than to show how it works into any subject? One of the activities we’ve done is to measure circle shaped objects in the music room and practice using pi. Hand drums, cups, cymbals are all fun to use. Another very musical activity is to assign a pitch to each digit. Then ‘play pi.’ Write the number for pi on the board (as many digits as you can) or create a PowerPoint to show the numbers. Students play their xylophone, boomwhacker, recorder or whatever instrument they have on the pitch indicated for each number. It’s a fun way to hear what pi could sound like.”
- Or Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy who teach science, “On Pi Day we do a fun bell ringer/sponge for our science classes using body measurements. We have students use twine (because string is too stretchy) to measure the circumference of their wrist, ankle, bicep, thigh, neck, head, and calf. They measure the length of the string for the circumference and then place the string in a circle on paper to roughly estimate the diameter of the circle. Lastly, they divide the circumference by the diameter and they should find that the number is (close to) 3.14! We love that this activity is quick and easy, but most importantly, it’s cross curricular and works in well with our human body unit.”
Peruse More Great Pi Resources
And find so many more phenomenal pi activities on TpT!
Pi humor clip art at the top thanks to:
Cute Butterfly Clip Art by Alana Naylor
Frog by Kari Bolt
“i” font by Kimberly Geswein Fonts