Engage Different Types of Learners on Pi Day

A blueberry pie decorated with a pi symbol in the middle

When you skip a rock on a lake’s surface, creating ripples, or when you splash a drop of milk on the counter, creating a circle, the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter will equal roughly 3.14. And it turns out that this ratio is the same for all circles.

What Is Pi Day?

Pi Day is a fun holiday set up on the day that numerically represents pi—3.14, or
March 14. The number 3.14 represents the first three digits of pi, an infinite number, and March 14 also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday. Pi Day was first celebrated on March 14, 1988, and became a national holiday in 2009. You can motivate your mathlete, and all types of learners, with these Pi Day activities and fun facts.

Fun Facts and Pi Day Activities

  • You may want to break out a really big calculator to show your student how impressive pi can be as you tackle this hands-on activity. You will also need to grab circular objects of various sizes (lids, cans, etc.), scissors, string, and a ruler. Depending on your child’s age, you may need to help measure and record the object’s circumference and diameter.
  • Do you have a hands-on learner who loves to get messy in the kitchen? Pi Day revelers celebrate with pie. Why not end your Pi Day activities with a cooking session? If baking a fruit pie is above your skill level or exceeds your time limit for that day, you could buy pizza crust or dough and add toppings in the shape of the pi symbol.
  • Did you know there is a pi language called Pilish? In this language, the number of letters in successive words match the digits of pi, helping math enthusiasts memorize an ever-larger number of pi’s digits. Here is an example from the Pi Wordplay page at Wolfram Mathworld.
    • May I have a large container of coffee? (3.1415926)
      May = 3, I = 1, have = 4 …
      Your student can learn about pi through language and make up his or her own silly sentences using the logic of Pilish. And the great thing about this activity is that you can engage students who may be reluctant to explore with math or learners who prefer to work with words.
  • Many kids love coding games. You can get your computer-game-loving student to draw a pi-shaped pie using this coding program to add the background, color, sound, and movement. Coding is an important skill for the future but also teaches kids the fundamentals of experimenting with new concepts, developing the persistence to solve problems, and expanding their creativity.
  • Pi is an irrational number. It cannot be expressed as a fraction, and its decimal representation never ends and never repeats. Because of this, people have pushed themselves to memorize an outlandish number of pi’s digits. The current Guinness World Record was set March 21, 2015, by Rajveer Meena from India. Blindfolded, he recited pi to 70,000 decimal places long. It took ten hours. Learn more about his amazing feat. How many decimal places can your student memorize and recite?

Pi Day opens the door for all types of learners to get engaged with math. We encourage you to pick an activity that brings numbers alive and bridges the gap between worksheets and real-world activities. For more ideas, challenges, and hands-on learning activities visit Connections Academy’s resources.

To learn how you can be more involved in your children’s education with more opportunities to provide meaningful input, visit the website for Connections Academy online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit Pearson Online Academy ’s website.

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