March 14th, affectionately known as “Pi Day” (with 3/14 representing 3.14), is the biggest unofficial math holiday on the calendar. Here are some fun classroom activities to get your students engaged with the amazing constant!
Memorizing the Digits of Pi
One of the most popular competitive activities is memorizing the digits of pi. There are many mnemonics out there to remember the first several digits. For instance the phrase, “Can I find a trick recalling pi easily?” By taking the number of letters in each word of this phrase, you get the first eight digits of Pi. Up for a tougher challenge? Here is a video for remembering the first 100 digits! For the ultimate Pi Day competitor, this article from the Washington Post addresses how to memorize many thousands of digits.
Making Pi themed Pies
This great tradition involves making Pi themed Pies. (Please read in the voice of Bubba from Forrest Gump). There’s pizza pi, apple pi, Eskimo pi, Boston Crème pi, cherry pi, key lime pi, sweet potato pi, … Students can be judged on the creativity of their toppings and/or crusts.
Creating a Pi Play-on-words
Another idea is to have students develop a logo or art rendering of a pi play-on-words such as pi-rate, pi a la mode, American pi, pumpkin pi, sweetie pi, or chicken pot pi to name a few.
Explore the Ratio of Circumference to Diameter
For a more academic activity, a class can explore the ratio of circumference to diameter.
- Have your students bring in circular objects (e.g. Coffee can lid, frisbee, plates of different sizes, measuring cup, etc.)
- Use yarn to wrap around the circumference of a circular object (measure it with a ruler)
- Stretch yarn across the diameter of the object (measure it with a ruler)
- Find the ratio of the Circumference to the Diameter for each object
- Find the average of all of the results
How close to 3.14 did you get?
More to Celebrate!
Since Albert Einstein’s birthday and Stephen Hawking’s death day occurred on March 14th, a celebration of either man is also a great Pi Day tie-in!