Celebrate Pi Day with your children
Mar 12, 2017
Tuesday, March 14, also known as Pi Day, presents an excellent opportunity to talk about math! Pi Day is the annual observance of the love of math and the mathematical constant Pi, commonly approximated as 3.14 (March 14 — get it?). What a great coincidence that presents another reminder to increase our efforts to be good math role models for our kids.
Math involves building a variety of skills over time, many of which are very theoretical, so an interest in the subject helps students stay motivated to learn. Talking about Pi is a chance to help students connect a very abstract concept to real world situations, like pizza.
So what is Pi? Pi is a special number which refers to the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. It’s always 3.14 (or 3.14159 if you want to be a bit more precise about it), so March 14 is a day when math enthusiasts use the occasion to bring attention to this useful number.
The ones who are obsessive sticklers for precision stage their celebrations for March 14 at 1:59 p.m. Consider having a pizza party at your house , with the first cut being made at exactly 1:59 p.m. Your guests will remember 3.14159 after that!
Pi is a special number for a variety of reasons. It is always 3.14 no matter which circle you use to compute it. It is an irrational number, meaning it cannot be expressed as a fraction. It appears in a wide range of math and scientific problems.
The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians knew about Pi and its usefulness in solving everyday quandaries, thanks to the work of the famous mathematician Archimedes. Pi is also a never-ending number. You could set up a contest to see who can memorize the most digits. Be warned, if you try to beat the world record (67,890 digits), it will take you more than a day to say them all out loud.
If you would like to try a less time-consuming activity involving Pi, you could bake a pie or listen to a song inspired by this great number. Some examples include Bye-Bye Miss American Pi and parody of Eminem’s Lose Yourself. You could even sing the following song to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree:
Oh, number Pi, Oh, number Pi, your digits are unending. Oh, number Pi, Oh, number Pi, no pattern are you sending. You’re three point one four one five nine, and even more if we had time. Oh, number Pi, Oh, number Pi, for circle lengths unbending. Oh, number Pi, Oh, number Pi, you are a number very sweet. Oh, number Pi, Oh, number Pi, your uses are so very neat. There's 2 Pi r and Pi r squared, a half a circle and you're there. Oh, number Pi, Oh, number Pi, we know that Pi's a tasty treat.
Regardless of your choice, try to spend Tuesday having fun with math. Parents looking for additional math resources and information can visit www.SylvanMathPrep.com to receive on-the-spot math guidance during homework time and obtain free access to more than 700 interactive math lessons for pre-algebra, algebra, geometry and math test preparation. Parents, students and educators are welcome to call us to talk about math and Pi. Call 902-422-7323 or email Hannah@sylvanlearninghalifax.ca today to learn more.