Give me a reason to eat pie and talk about numbers…. and I’m there. Pi Day can be celebrated and discussed at any grade level, and it should be! Below are a few of my favorite ideas for bringing Pi Day to the classroom!
1.Perfect Circle Contest: I think this is such a fun STEM idea! Simply give students supplies like: String, paperclips, Pen, Scissors, paper, Thumbtack, rubber bands…etc. The only rule I would suggest is no tracing! Set students loose on coming up with a method of creating a perfect circle, once they have one method, challenge them to come up with another. At the end, have students go head to head demonstrating their methods! Take it a step further, and determine who truly created the most perfect circle using numbers! Measure the circle’s diameter and circumference. The solve for Pi by dividing the circumference by the diameter. The more perfect the circle, the closer the solution will be to pi! (3.14159265359…….etc) Perfect opportunity to compare and order decimals! This may be my favorite activity, simply because it’s fun, MacGyvering is involved, and anyone can do it using the supplies already found in the classroom! Check out the video below for some solutions on creating the perfect circle freehand!
2. Pi Day Poetry: I LOVE this writing challenge. Taking the first digits that make up Pi Challenge the students to some creative writing with these parameters. Students must write a story or poem that match up the amount of letters in a word to the consecutive digits in Pi. For example, the first 3 digits in Pi is: 3.14 So the first word of everyone’s writing must be a 3 letter word, followed by a 1 letter word, next is a four letter word, and so on and so forth! Click here for a FREE digital writing template through Google Sheets, this version is also very print-friendly! Just make a copy > file > download as >PDF. **Remember you have to be a member in order to access the page! Not a member? No worries sign up is easy, peasy, lemon squeezy… and FREE! Click Here to Download.
3. Pi Recitation Competition: Probably the easiest, lowest prep Pi Day activity out there…. Good Old Fashioned… Competition. Challenge your students to memorize as many digits in Pi that they can. You can challenge them a week before, or give them 5 minutes to work some memory magic. Offer tips like grouping the numbers like a phone-number…etc. Make sure to look up the record for most digits in Pi recited from memory….. SEVENTY THOUSAND. Blindfolded. mind. blown.
4. Easy as Pi|Pie Recipe: Call me biased, but this might be my most brilliant idea ever. No Melting, No Mixer, No Baking, No Microwave, No Dishes, NO PROBLEM! Students apply math such as repeated addition of fractions, multiplying fractions, simplifying fractions and measurement conversion to increase a mini pie recipe. Best part…. They make the recipe with this 1000% classroom friendly process. Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Even better, it’s delicious, and can easily be altered for any of your kiddos with food allergies. I’m convinced this is sure to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! ? If you do this in your classroom, please, please, please, tag me! For more information see this post, if you would like to purchase this product click here!
5. Free Easy As Pi | Extension Activity: This extension is the perfect follow up for the activity above. However, you can also accomplish this activity by bringing in your own Pie, or rather any circular treat… cookies. In this FREE activity students explore what Pi is, the definition of Circumference, Diameter, Radius, and Pi. Next, students measure their treat and find the following definitions above. Using circumference divided by diameter students find their “pi” the more precise their measurements the closer the value should be the actual pi! They are also challenged to find the difference between their value and the actual value. Great practice for measuring, adding and subtracting decimals, and rounding. Students can use a calculator to solve, or practice those skills by hand! You can download this activity by clicking here.
6. Pi Day Craftivity: I’ve stumbled across a few ideas that are really fantastic! I wanted to share three of my favorites: Paper Chain Pi, Pi Bracelets, Pi Skyline.
- Paper Chain Pi: to complete this you need 9 different colors of paper. Assign a color to each digit 1-9. Cut the paper into strips and connect them in the pattern of digits shown in Pi. Remember Pi is an irrational and never-ending number. So set a time-limit, and get to work. Display pi and see how long of a chain you can complete in the time frame. I read about a class completing over 2,000 links! They displayed the chain for the rest of the year!
- Pi Bracelets: This craft follows the same idea as the paper chains, but instead of paper links you use plastic beads! Using 9 colors of beads assign a color to each digit then thread the beads on string or pie cleaners to complete!
- Pi City Skyline: This was really creative. A class used graph paper, watercolors, and a marker to represent the digits of pi. Turning the piece of graph paper horizontal, starting at the base you color in each row the amount of each value in Pi. So the first row you would color in 3 squares, the one, then four. Once you’ve worked from right to left use watercolors to create a sunset effect behind the Pi City Skyline.
7. Read Sir Circumference: This was one of those books that was introduced to me while at the University and since has held a special place in my heart. I’m a sucker for puns, (aka:Pie on Pi Day) So you give me a book with a fun story, that relates to math, and includes a good pun. Done. Make this more of a hands-on activity by using a piece of string to measure a favorite circle snack. Similar to the spokes and wheel part of the story! Use string to measure the diameter, increase that section 2 times, essentially multiplying it by three. Then notice how close… but no cigar it wraps around the circumference. Thus the need for our never-ending decimal points to complete the gap!
- Sir Circumference and the Dragon of Pi
- Sir Circumference and the Round Table
- Sir Circumference 3 Pack
8. Pi is Beautiful: Martin Krzywinski, artist and mathematician has created some really beautiful renditions of the number pi. The video below does a wonderful job examining and explaining some of his most extravagant pieces. Fascinating, educational, and beautiful!
9. Write a Pi-Ku: Unlike your traditional Haiku, ( Use exactly 17 syllables • Syllables are arranged in three lines of 5-7-5 • Avoid similes and metaphors) A Pi-Ku is, would you have guessed it… arranged in three lines with 3 syllables in the first line, 1 in the second, and 4 in the last line.
First line: 3 syllables > Second line: 1 syllable >Third line: 4 syllables
It’s Pi Day
Better Make Pie
10. Sing about Pi: Better yet… write a song about it. If you do decide to try your hand at writing a song, make sure to check out this Song Writing Review Graphic Organizer. There are some really fun renditions that can be found on youtube that your students would enjoy singing along to. They are also great to introduce the idea of writing your own lyrics to better understand a concept. They may laugh and giggle at the video, but wait until they are given the same challenge! Below are a few of my favorite Pi-Day Sing-Alongs. Maybe it was late while I was writing this post, maybe it’s my 90’s girl love of NSYNC, but I completely enjoyed these.
- Younger Grades: Pi-namite
- Older Grades: Mathematical Pi
- Funny Rendition for memorizing the first 100 digits of Pi
- NSYNC Parody Pi Pi Pi with great visual representation of Pi
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