You don’t have to be a math geek to love Pi Day (March 14)–but it helps!
Like many others throughout the world, the Imagine Learning family celebrates Pi Day with pie, from blueberry to lemon chiffon–the more flavors, the better. But eating a slice of pie is only one time-honored tradition on Pi Day.
Fun ‘Pi Day’ Facts
How much do you really know about Pi Day? Test your knowledge with a few fun facts:
- March 14 is not only Pi Day (3.14)–it’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday.
- Pi Day began unofficially in 1988, thanks to the efforts of a physicist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium museum.
- Americans officially began celebrating Pi Day in 2008, thanks to house representatives in Washington, D.C. (via Resolution 224).
- While most Pi Day revelers celebrate with sweet pies (fruit, cream, and so on), pizza pies are also quite popular.
- Hundreds of thousands of math geeks recite as many digits of pi as they can on this day (Akira Haraguchi, Japanese memorization master, holds the record at 100,000 digits).
- Some math lovers even write in pilish–the literary version of pi that substitutes letters of the alphabet for successive pi digits.
- Engineers use pi to calculate flight paths (but only up to 15 digits are necessary for this task).
Pi Day Fun in the Classroom
Even if you’re not into reciting digits of pi, there are lots of great Pi Day activities you can try in the classroom. Even better? These ideas can work for students at a variety of levels.
- Download coloring pages with clustered circles on them; then, have students color each circle a different color.
- String beads according to the digits of pi: three beads of one color, followed by one bead of another color and four of a new color. And so on. With enough digits, your beads can even make a small bracelet.
- To practice writing and math skills simultaneously, let students write a short creative paragraph or story that uses the digits of pi.
- Recite digits of pi “Simon Says” style: students repeat all digits while you add one more digit. You’ll be amazed by how quickly students will learn the numbers!
- Create a pi skyline to help students visualize pi numbers in bar-graph format. Just search online for ‘math skyline’ to find several options.
- Use illustrative mathematics activities to show relationships between a circle’s diameter and circumference and pi’s value.
- Hold a Pi Day trivia contest, in which students can find answers either online or in pre-assembled packets. Questions might be about famous pi mathematicians, works of art representing pi, and architectural examples.
- For meeting classroom goals of a mathematical nature, reward students with a homemade pizza ‘pi’ party.
- Estimate pi by using the famous geometric problem, Buffon’s needle. Just click the link to this simulator activity.
- Before eating pie, hold a hula hoop contest (hoops=round!) with a twist: the winner must also recite as many digits of pi as possible while keeping up the hoop.
- Choose a specialized pi activity from those on illustrativemathematics.org–for example, find the area of regular polygons and rhombi while solving word problems.
Don’t forget to consult Pinterest for even more great Pi Day ideas.
Pi Day Traditions at Imagine Learning
Even before Imagine Learning welcomed math instructional programs to its product lineup, our team has celebrated Pi Day.
Now, with two new math programs under our roof, we’re anxious to celebrate even more Pi Day traditions as established by those who joined us from Think Through Math (now Imagine Math). Those traditions include:
- Decorating our building for Pi Day
- Enjoying a slice of pie promptly at 1:59 p.m
- Marching around the office at 3:14 p.m. while singing a Pi Day Song (you’ll have to trust us on that one)
- Reciting as many digits of pi as possible while spinning a hula hoop
- Wearing Pi Day garb (including t-shirts and other inventive accessories)
- Inventing new Pi Day poems, raps, and cheers
- Sharing photos and videos of our festivities
What are your favorite Pi Day activities? Share them with us in the comments below.