Innovation: Education

Celebrating Pi Day with your students

The most epic Pi Day ever: 3/14/15 9:26:53 am and pm

celebrating Pi Day with your students
Larry Shaw, the founder of Pi Day, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Math enthusiasts of all ages are anxiously awaiting the celebration of what many are coining the most epic Pi-Day ever.

Okay, maybe that is an overstatement, but I am certainly looking forward to the fun recognition of the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

3/14/15… 9:26:53. Two opportunities to celebrate, two opportunities to eat pie, so many opportunities for learning.

As a former math teacher, celebrating Pi-Day was a natural part of the curriculum. Just look up classroom ideas to celebrate Pi-Day and you’ll find hundreds of ways observe Pi-Day in math classes. But Pi-Day can be enjoyed by all teachers, and here are a few ways to bring the celebration to other content areas.

Remember, even if you don’t like pi, you can always bake a cake and celebrate Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Pi-Ku

Irrational. three
point one four one five nine two
six five three. Go on.

Challenge your students to write a pi-based haiku!

Don’t Pi for me Argentina

Pi and music – it is a beautiful combination. Just listen:

  • This composer created the melody for their song by taking pi and assigning each number a note on the harmonic A minor scale (Editor’s note: holy crow.) Plus they’ve made the sheet music available to boot.
  • These folks set pi to music for piano and saxophone in the key of G.
  • These “enthusiastic math students” at Fort Vancouver High School covered Eminem’s Lose Yourself, challenging each other to an epic rap battle about reciting pi digits.

How can your students bring together pi and music?

The 11th Digit Debate

Some argue that Pi-Day would be more accurately celebrated on 3/14/15 9:26:54 because the 11th digit of pi is 5 thus rounding the 10th digit to 4. A fun topic for debate! Team 5 vs. Team 4! Go!

What are your Pi-Day plans?

 

Meredith Swallow

Meredith Swallow is in her fourth year as a doctoral student at UVM, and is working with the Tarrant Institute as a Research Associate and Professional Development Coordinator. As a former middle- and high-school math teacher, Meredith facilitated environments of engaged, active learning, by supporting the connection of knowledge through interaction, understanding, and meaning. Her research focuses on the intersection of educational technology, content knowledge, and pedagogy, and how that supports twenty-first century educational goals and outcomes. She strives to model effective technology integration across multiple disciplines by recognizing diverse learning needs and specific school and teacher contexts. When not studying or engaging in research, Meredith enjoys her time in the outdoors hiking with her trusted sidekick Jack the Dog.

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