Happy Pi Day! March 14th (3/14) is the day we celebrate the pi symbol, which represents a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter. For every circle, this ratio is 3.14159. It’s an irrational number that continues forever without any pattern. Math enthusiasts like pi so much that they try to memorize its digits, while computer scientists have calculated at least one million digits of pi.
If your middle school or high school student is interested in math concepts such as pi, he or she may have a natural degree of logical-mathematical intelligence, or logic smarts. Kids who have logic smarts calculate complex problems in their heads, like numbers and games, recognize patterns easily, and rely on systems and strategies to get things done. Because they have these tendencies, logic-smart kids may be interested in how pi occurs in nature or how its digits never end.
Pi is so fascinating that it turns up in unexpected places. In the original Star Trek series, episode #36 (“Wolf in the Field”), the main computer of the Starship Enterprise is possessed by an evil alien entity. Kirk, Spock, and the gang have a plan to send the entity into deep space, but they must first find a way to keep the computer “busy” so it doesn’t detect their plan. They assign the evil computer intruder to calculate pi, and of course it can never finish.
Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed logical-mathematical intelligence in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which also includes verbal-linguistic intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and more. Today, it’s more useful to consider these “intelligences” as abilities or skills that your child can work on.
School clubs can enhance your child’s math and logic skills—and perhaps help him or her find new interests. Below are some of the clubs that exercise logic smarts:
- Brainteasers Club
- Chess Clubs
- Gaming and Computer Technology Club
- Math Clubs
- Music Club
- Quiz Bowl Club
- Robotics Club
Cooking Up Calculations: A Pi Day Activity for Logic-Smart Learners
To celebrate Pi Day, engage your child’s logical-mathematical skills with this tasty Pi Day activity. The activity involves baking an orange cream “pi” after your child uses pi formulas to do a few cooking-related calculations. Follow the instructions below to complete your Pi Day pie.
Orange Cream Pi Ingredients:
- 1 graham cracker pie crust
- 1 can of frozen orange juice, partially thawed
- 2½ cups of vanilla ice cream
- 1 orange
- Cling wrap
- A pencil
- A ruler
- A large piece of paper
- A calculator (optional)
- Circle calculations: Gently flip the graham cracker pie crust upside down and lay it on top of a large piece of paper. Use a pencil to trace the outline, or circumference, of the pie crust.
Using the traced circle, a ruler, and a calculator, measure and calculate the following items:
- Diameter (d)
- Radius (r) = (d/2)
- Circumference (C) = 2πr
- Area (A) = πr²
- Sphere calculations: Take the orange and carefully cut it in half. Place one half of the orange on the piece of paper with the cut side facing down. Use a pencil to trace the circumference of the orange.
Measure and calculate the following items:
- Radius (r)
- Volume (V) of the sphere = 4/3πr3
- Surface Area (SA) of the sphere = 4πr2
- Cylinder calculations: Take the can of orange juice. Measure and calculate the following items:
- Height (h) of the can
- Radius (r) of the top of the can
- Volume (V) of the cylinder = πr2h
- Surface Area (SA) of the cylinder = (2πr2) + (2πrh)
Now it’s time to make your Pi Day pie!
Recipe Instructions for Orange Cream Pi:
- Combine the ice cream and thawed orange juice in a bowl. Mix them together.
- Spoon the orange mix into the graham cracker crust.
- Peel both halves of the orange and pull apart the segments. Place the orange pieces on top of the pie for decoration.
- Cover the pie with cling wrap and put it the freezer to set for at least eight hours.
Take out your frozen treat and enjoy!
The Pi Day activity shows how to apply logic smarts in a real-life situation. Did the orange cream pi help your child look at the world a little differently?