Pi Day is on March 14th, and any day that combines fun, education, and pie is a day worth celebrating! Pi, also known by the Greek letter “π,” is a constant value used in maths that represents the ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is just about 3.14… (and so on).
To learn about the origins of Pi, we need to go back a few thousand years. Archimedes of Syracuse (287–212 BC), one of the greatest mathematicians of the ancient world, first calculated the value of Pi
However, it was first baptized with the Greek letter as its name, when William Oughtred called it as such in his works dating back to 1647. It was then later embraced by the scientific community when Leonhard Euler used the symbol in 1737.
But how did Pi Day end up in a world-wide phenomenon? It was founded in 1988 by Larry Shaw, an employee of the Exploratorium, a museum of science, technology, and arts in San Francisco. Shaw linked March 14 with the first digits of Pi (3.14) in order to organize a special day to bond the Exploratorium staff together, where he offered fruit pies and tea to everyone starting at 1:59 pm, the following three digits of the value. In 2009, the U.S Congress declared it a national American holiday and, in 2019 at UNESCO’s 40th General Conference, Pi Day was designated as the International Day of Mathematics. Now, celebrated by maths geeks all around the circumference of the world, Pi Day became a pop culture phenomenon, with several places participating in pie eating and pi recitation competitions.
At The Purbeck School, we are celebrating Pi day as this week’s tutor theme. Mr Matt Rowland has planned a presentation and designed a set of activities for our students to explore the most common of irrational numbers. If you want to partake in some Pi, then here are some ideas.
- Memorize those Pi digits!
Teach your children about the current record holder for reciting the digits of Pi. Rajveer Meena recited 70,000 digits in 9 hours, 7 minutes (while blindfolded) on March 21, 2015. Then, ask them to memorize digits using this catchy song about the firsts 100 digits of pi!
2. Happy Pi Day to You
Happy Pi Day to You! by Bonnie Worth is an engaging and interactive read aloud to get kids thinking about and measuring circles. For extra fun, grab a stack of disposable pie plates to recreate the amazing Pi Day hats the characters all wear!
3. Bake a Pi Pie
You knew there had to be some actual pie on this list, right? If you’re going to bake a pi for pie day, why not try this Triple Berry Pi Day Pie! (Try saying that five times fast.)