March 14, 2012 (3.14) is National Pi Day! It is a day dedicated to celebrating Pi, the ratio of the circumference of the circle to its diameter. For math teachers throughout the world, Pi Day represents a chance to engage students in logic, reasoning and fun activities in mathematics. A person can use any circle to compute it and Pi is always the same number. History tells us that ancient Egyptians and ancient Babylonians used Pi.

 

Larry Shaw, a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, created Pi Day to celebrate the significance of the constant and scholars’ attraction to Pi throughout time. The Exploratorium schedules events to celebrate Pi Day each year. Some examples of events are: walking in a circle and eating pie, singing songs about Pi and learning about the relevance of Pi in daily life. There are online activities as well. You can find out more about the Pi Day activities at the Exploratorium at www.exploratorium.edu/pi/index.html.

 

Pi is an infinite number and students, teachers and math enthusiasts worldwide take pride in reciting as many decimal places as possible from memory. In 2004, Daniel Tammet recited 22,414 decimal places of Pi. The Pi Day Challenge is a set of puzzles that require reasoning and logic. Anyone who accepts the Pi Day Challenge must solve the problems themselves. Anyone who solves all puzzles gains recognition as a “genius”. You can find out more about the Pi Day Challenge at www.pidaychallenge.com.

 

There are many activities that teachers can use with their students on Pi Day...

  • Listen to the Pi Day song by Kate Bush
  • Write a Pi-ku (a haiku about Pi)
  • Math students and teachers can memorize as many digits of the constant and compete against each other to recite them
  • Eat pie
  • Participate in discussions about the relevance of Pi

 

You can find more Pi Day activities for your classroom and your school from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) at www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=2147483830.

 

On Pi Day in 2015 at 9:26:53 the date will be 3/14/15 at 9:26:53, corresponding to the first ten digits of Pi. In several locations throughout the country Pi Day is combined with a celebration of Albert Einstein's birthday, which is also on March 14th.

 

Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate Pi Day on 3.14! It is a chance to celebrate your love of mathematics and instill interest and appreciation for mathematics in your students.

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