Happy 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939... Day!
Every year math enthusiasts everywhere celebrate pi, a celebrity among mathematical constants, on 3/14, also known as Pi Day. Extreme enthusiasts have a special celebration at 1:59 (aka, Pi Minute).
Pi Day is a great day to have some fun with mathematics and science. Why not plan a pi recitation contest followed by a pi eating contest? Make your pies square, instead of round, since “pie are squared” is the surface area bounded by a circle. Enjoy these resources and ideas on how to have fun with this quirky holiday – and maybe even teach a little math!
Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Whatever the size of a circle, if you divide its circumference by its diameter you will always get 3.14159..., better known as pi.
Pi is an irrational number, continuing infinitely without repeating. It is usually estimated to the hundredths place (3.14), but with the use of computers, pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal.
Although the ratio has been around for about 4,000 years, the symbol just turned 300 years old in 2006. The symbol for pi was first used in 1706 by a Welsh man, William Jones. The symbol was made popular after Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler adopted its use in 1737.
Following are links to articles about Pi Day that have appeared in NCTM publications and links to websites with activities, and merchandise,
Let's Take Another Look at Pi Day – Explores the many uses of Pi Day.
(Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, March 2002)
Playing around with "Mono-pi-ly"
(Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, February 2006)
The game of "mono-pi-ly" for two to five players was created as a part of a Pi Day activity for use with a mixed-level geometry class. Students review and practice circle vocabulary, and area and circumference calculations by playing the game. Playing time is approximately forty to fifty minutes.
Pi Day. Accept the challenge. The Pi Day Challenge is a series of puzzles that are logic based. A team of logicians adapted or created these puzzles – some require research, some require mathematics, some require pure savvy. (www.pidaychallenge.com)
Joy of Pi contains a wide range of links to pi pages on the Web including those on memorizing pi, posters to print, pi mysteries, fun with pi, wacky pi stuff, and a pi fan club. (www.joyofpi.com)
Teach Pi bills itself as "a one-stop Pi Day shop for teachers and number lovers." Includes stories, more than 50 pi-related activities, and music. (www.teachpi.org)
Pi Day Princeton. Pi Day happens to also be the birthday of Albert Einstein. A couple of Princeton women just couldn't let that pass unnoticed.
Just for Fun
How to Calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs
The New York Times science writer John Tierney wrote a March 2008 Pi Day article which includes a link to an applet that calculates pi by using Buffon's Needle, and introduces "pi-ku" using a 3-1-4 syllable pattern rather than the traditional 5-7-5 syllable pattern of haiku.
It's Pi Day!
Three point one