We love pie, but we really love pi day. This is a great day to play with math, especially circles. We have lots of ideas for various age ranges, or check out NASA’s Pi Day Challenge for more ideas.
Bake a pie. (Don’t forget there are savory options like pot pies and pizza pie for those that don’t like sweets).
Baking is a great math and science activity, as you measure and see the consequences of not measuring well. You can see science in action, as you watch the many chemical reactions happening as you cook. You can try to find out the role of each ingredient in your recipe, like the sticking power of flour, the rising power of leaveners, or the browning power of a mixture of ingredients. You can practice fractions as you divide the pie for serving. How many pieces do you need? How long is the radius of your pie? Can you make the top symmetrical (extra fun with pizza toppings) and how many lines of symmetry can you create?
We play a lot with circles on Pi Day – dividing, adding fractions from different circles, practicing symmetry, etc. This year, we added the challenge of circles in our Minecraft Math class. We have been learning about perimeter, area, and volume this month. We started with rectangles, which were easy to count the blocks. This week, we made circles on graph paper and tried our best to make circles with Minecraft blocks. We then compared the circumference and area of the two types of “circles” with a similar radius.
We tried this out last year, and it was a lot of fun. Use a piece of graph paper to create a bar-graph style piece of art. Lightly write out the numbers in pi across the bottom of your graph paper (3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375…). Use dark marker or pen to color in each column to represent the numbers of pi. You end up with what looks like a cityscape, with building of all sorts of sizes. Once you’ve colored the buildings in, have fun with coloring in the sky with your art tools of choice. Watercolor in a skyline. Try some blending of pastels. Color with markers.
What kind of fun math do you do to celebrate pi day?