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Let’s Celebrate Pi Day! by Erin Nobles, Director, Mathnasium of St Petersburg

March 14 is celebrated in math classes around the world as Pi day, but there’s no reason parents can’t get in on the fun! Plan some fun math-centered activities and show your favorite student how math can be silly.

What is Pi?

First things first…in case you haven’t thought about Pi since 10th grade geometry class, Pi is the number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle (the distance around the circle) by its diameter (the distance across). Because Pi is the same for every circle, we can use it to solve for the diameter of a circle, if we know the circle’s circumference, or to solve for the circumference of a circle if we know its diameter. And even though Pi is often written at 3.14, Pi contains an infinite number of digits without a pattern of repetition. As

far as we can tell, it doesn’t matter how long we calculate Pi (even with NASA’s most sophisticated supercomputers), we will never find its end.

Playing with numbers

The curious properties of Pi have fascinated mathematicians for many years, and provide teachers and parents with lots of opportunities for fun. Of course, you can never go wrong with a Pi day pie. Encourage your children to compete to memorize the most digits of Pi and the winner gets the largest slice! Another idea is to show children how to calculate Pi in the real world by having your child measure cylindrical objects with string. Have them cut up the string into three even pieces, and then measure the leftover piece to see how it’s always Pi. Also, there are

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445 923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470938446095 5058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442 881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664 82133936072602491412737245870066063155881748815209209628292540917153643678925 9036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193 26117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279381830119491298336733624406 566430860213949463952247371907021798609437027705392171762931767523846748184676694 0513200 056812714 526356082778577 1342 757789609 173637178721468 440 901224953 430146549585371 0507922796 8925892354201995 6112129021 9608640344181598 1362977477 1309960518707211 34999999837 2978049951059731 73281609631 8595024459455346 908302642522 3082533446850352 619311881710 10003137838752886 5875332083814 20617177669147303 5982534904287 55468731159562863 88235378759375 19577818577805321 712268066130019 278766111959092164 2019893809525720 106548586327886593 615338182796823030 195203530185296899 577 3622599413891249721 775283479131515574 857 242454150695950829533 1168617278558890750 983 8175463746493931925506 0400927701671139009 848 82401285836160356370766 01047101819429555961 989 46767837449448255379774 726847104047534646208046684259 0694912933136770289891 521047521620569660240580381 5019351125338243003 558764024749647326391419 92726042699227 967823547816360093

many websites devoted to Pi day fun, games, and accessories. For ideas, visit But even without a computer, parents can encourage children to memorize the first few digits of Pi.

Artists can write poetry about Pi (a Pi-ku, perhaps?) or paint a picture of Pi. If you’re feeling sporty, try a Pi-athlon (run or bike 3.14 miles – roughly a 5K).

No longer reserved only for the geek culture, pi is fun, approachable, and entertaining. At Mathnasium we are seeking to promote National Pi Day and the importance of a strong STEAM education. All technology, from the wheel to the Smart Phone, utilizes physical laws that are described in terms of mathematics, and we want to encourage you to enjoy this fun day, which also happens to be the birthday of Albert Einstein!

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March 2017 • 39

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