Celebrate Pi Day With These Activities
For some families, March 14th can seem like just an ordinary day. For others, though, 3/14 is more than just a day…in fact, it’s Pi Day! Pi, which is considered a mathematical concept that represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, starts with 3.14 but continues for 2.7 trillion digits!
Why is Pi Day Important?
Pi Day is the day that mathematicians celebrate pi and all the innovations it has contributed to. In 2009, Pi Day became a national event, recognized by the House of Representatives through Resolution 224. The day is officially recognized to create more awareness and excitement towards science and math. Pi has been used as far back as 4,000 years ago and has since been used by NASA to send spaceships to outer space and super computers.
The use of pi has aided in the advancement of civilization, and it would be impossible to think of where we would be without it. Celebrate the number with these Pi Day activities!
- Bake a pi(e)! There are all sorts of pie recipes from beginner to advanced. To make this apart of your Pi Day math activities, you can calculate the area and circumference of the pies you make! For circumference, the formula is 2 x π x r, with r being the radius of the pie. The radius is half the diameter of the pie. For area, the formula is π x r2, so grab a calculator, some plates, and your baking ingredients. Don’t forget to have fun!
- Make a paper chain for each digit of pie, and the different digits can be represented by various sheets of paper. For instance, blue paper can be for all “1” digits, pink for all “2” digits, and so on. See how long your child can make the chain before getting tired.
- Pi bracelets are similar to pi paper chains, except they are far more fashionable. Gather 10 different colored beads and string to make bracelets. Assign a color to each digit 0-9, and see how many digits of pi you can fit onto a bracelet. Take it to the next level, and you could make a pi-necklace with even more digits!
- Make a bar graph for each digit of pi; your student may notice that this bar graph resembles a city skyline. Have your student color the bar graph however he or she wishes – encourage creativity to make a unique pi-city.
- Using each digit of pi as the amount of letters in a word, make up a story! For instance, a story would begin with a three-letter word, a one-letter word, and then a four-letter word. Allow creativity to fly, and see how far your students are willing to go.
- Host a pie-eating contest, and for an added twist, blindfold or tie your students’ hands back. This can be a fun way to wind down after an otherwise normal school day – the more the merrier!
- Challenge your child to see how many digits of pi he or she can memorize. The world record is over 67,000 digits! Again, the more the merrier with this activity – if you have more than one child participating, turn it into a contest.
- Create a pi-haiku! Each digit of pi can represent the amount of syllables a line can contain. For instance, a three-line pi-haiku would be three syllables, one syllable, then four syllables.
- Watch (or read) the story of Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi! This fun and educational story provides students young and old with a way to learn about pi. As an added bonus, have your child write a short summary or report of what they learned from the story.
- Unleash the artistic ability of circles! This activity works best with multiple students. Cut out multiple circles and assign each child to color a quarter of a circle. Put all the circles together and create a beautiful collage.
- For your Pi Day games, you can create a scavenger hunt. Hide as many circular items as you can in a room. Once your child finds a circular item, instruct them to find the circumference and area of the circles (see #1 for how to calculate these values). If they find all the objects and calculate the values correctly, award them with a prize (perhaps the pie from activity #1).
- Create a list of all the words you and your student can think of that start with “pi.” For added educational fun, skim through the dictionary once your student has run out of words to think of. What’s the most interesting word you found, and what does it mean?
- Since pi has so many digits, it has been said that people’s birthdays (yes, day, month, and year!) can actually be found in its many digits. See if you and your child can spot his or her birthday. If not, there’s already a website that can find it for you!
- How commonly is pi day observed? Take a trip to your local stores and bakeries to see if there are any special deals on pies. If there are, see if you can calculate exactly what the price difference is between normally priced pies and discounted ones.
- March 14th may be known as Pi Day, but what other special events and occasions have occured on March 14th? Conduct a historical search with your child and figure out what the most exciting or interesting event that has even occurred on March 14th. For older students, you can assign a paper or project on the topic.
- Take to the web to find some fun Pi Day worksheets! There are many free printables across the Internet to enhance your learning experience on the day.
- Create Pi Day appreciation cards. Have your child come up with Valentine-style cards with clever cheesy statements. A couple of fun ones might be “I hope our friendship goes on forever” or “Will you be my sweetie-pi?”
- Hold a spelling test for younger students using words that begin with “pi.” Read out the words below and see if your child is able to spell them correctly!