As geeky as we are in the Boogers&Burps house, you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m writing a post about National Pi Day. To be honest, we haven’t really celebrated it yet because there was church this morning and frankly it’s the first warmish day in a loooong time, so I didn’t want to drag the boys inside when they’re finally able to play outside. But I have a few simple ideas for things we can do this evening with the boys. If nothing else, we’ll talk about Pi and why it’s important (not to mention cool). And maybe if I get to the store before supper, we’ll have some pie as well.
Did you know that this is now an “official” holiday? Me neither! But apparently last year Congress passed a resolution declaring March 14 National Pi Day in an effort to encourage and support math and science education. Get it? March 14—3.14? Oh, and it just so happens to also be the birthday of Albert Einstein. Coincidence? I’m not so sure…
So what’s so special about Pi? Since I’m entirely unqualified to answer this question, I thought I’d ask someone who is qualified: Brian Reece (AKA Husband). Brian has his Master’s in School Mathematics and teaches AP classes at a magnet high school as well as online college courses at a community college. (In other words, he’s a certified math geek.) Here’s what he had to say when I posed the question to him (while he was careful to also keep one eye on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, of course).
Pi is the ratio of a circle circumference to its diameter. It’s mentioned as far back as the Bible, when people tried to figure out what the ratio (Pi) was. It’s an irrational number, which means it can’t be written as a ratio of two integers (a fraction). In other words, it continues to infinity without repeating.
One way to help your kids comprehend just how long (infinitely long) Pi is, is to show them the Pi Day.org Web site, where they can view the first million digits of the number. After they scroll, and scroll, and scroll and see just how many digits are there, tell them that there are waaaay more digits in Pi. The digits never come to an end. (Pretty much mind-blowing if you ask me, which I know you didn’t.)
Another easy activity is to have your kids make a paper chain, writing one digit on each link. Have them see how many links they can attach to it!
Want a great book to share with your kids to help them understand Pi? Pick up Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. We have this book, along with the other books in this series, and it’s very well-written and keeps kids’ attention while teaching them about rather complicated math concepts. Here’s the link to Amazon (Disclosure: I make a small percentage of any sales):
Pi in the Sky Bag by Buffalo Nerd Project on Etsy: Carry Pi with you wherever you go!
Pi Coffee Cozy and Pi Pencil Pouch by NausicaaDistribution on Etsy—Husband and I are HUGE fans of this shop! We’ve made several purchases of the adorable statistical plushies for his classroom, and we’ll continue to go back for more! I’ll be featuring this great shop soon!
Pi Guy by KimPayne on Etsy—Meet Pi Guy. He can keep your kids company while they do their homework or just snuggle at bedtime. He’s so cute!
Pi by Numbers T-shirt for Kids at ThinkGeek—Husband has this T-shirt (in big people size), and I think it’s adorable for kids. Start your kiddo on the road to “mathlete” early! ThinkGeek has some other really fun products, including a Pi shower curtain and Pi ice cube tray. I love this store and find some awesome gifts there.
So what about you? Do you celebrate National Pi Day?