March 14th, Pi Day, has always been a favorite day of mine. Since my Calculus teacher in high school brought a pie to class, I have been enamored with the holiday. Ok, so maybe it’s more my love of pie, than Pi, but it’s still an awesome day.
Pi Day = Math Christmas
In my former life as a high school math teacher in a small private school, Pi Day was like Christmas. It revolved around eating pie, gifts of knowledge (ok, that might have been a stretch), more pie, a sugar high and that feeling that you may have eaten too much pie. See, just like Christmas!
Pi Day = Education + Fun
I tried to make Pi Day educational and fun at the same time. The assignment in every class was to bring in a pie. Early on I discovered not to require them to actually make the pie (we wanted to be able to eat it, after all). However, I did require some math along with the pies.
For the Geometry students, that may have meant a project involving arcs, circumference or angles. For Algebra 1 students it usually included a recipe that was divided in half or doubled. For Pre-Calculus and Calculus students there was always a representation of the unit circle and a trigonometry project. And, of course, I always rounded the day out with a video or two on Pi and a contest for who could recite the most digits of Pi. We also would decorate the school with Pi facts and then end our day sharing all that pie with the rest of the school.
Pi Day = Graphing + Food
As a homeschool mom, I still love celebrating Pi Day. We usually begin with waffles or pancakes in the morning. This morning L- made graphs on her waffle with syrup, while A- asked what the cool design was on her pancake. For lunch, we went out with Papa for fudge pie from a local restaurant, and we plan to finish off the evening eating Quiche “pie” for dinner.
Pi Day = Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
Of course, we did a little learning about the number Pi, too. We read the book Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. Bethany at MathGeekMama.com has a great FREE lesson pack to go along with the book that we are using. The pack has worksheets for determining the diameter and radius of a circle, measuring the circumference of household items and even a game. She also has a Pi-Day Sing Along included. We belted out Pi Day songs while the puppy watched us quizzically.
Pi Day = Party School
Pi Day isn’t truly a math holiday, but it does give us an excuse to break free from the typical day and have “party school.” Any day we can celebrate a math constant by eating sweets is a good day in my book. And, as one of my former students said about me today, “It’s the one thing she did right.”
Yeah, he’s a teenager. I’ll take what I can get.