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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Happy Pi Day

Happy Pi Day

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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Any other teachers out there (math or otherwise) celebrate Pi Day with your kids? If so, what are some of the activities that you do? We shut down the entire middle school for about 2 hours and have a huge interdisciplinary celebration with Pi Art, Pi Poetry, Internet scavenger hunts, etc. I'd love to have new ideas or variations on old ones.

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John Kazmaier's picture
John Kazmaier
Math Teacher

I love Pi Day! A self-professed math nerd (and all my kids know and love that fact)I have celebrated the last 4 years with all of my classes. We eat round snacks (like Cheerios and rice cakes) and have themed activities in class. We always start with a refresher on circles and formulas associated with circles and then move in to thhe "fun stuff." All the students are assigned a Pi digit which they create on cardstock paper and we assemble the digits in order in the hallway. We also watch a Pi music video (set to Eminem's Lose Yourself...it's hilarious!), and create Pi-ku poetry (they follow the format for haiku) which is posted around the room. It's something goofy that I like to do, but even middle schoolers need an excuse for a party once in a great while, right?!? Eventually, by the end of the day, I have kids from other teams in the building coming up to me and saying how they wish their teacher celebrated Pi day or they were in my class. Always a good time!!! :)
What types of scavenger hunts do you have and did you encounter any resistance with the planning of everything? I know there would be a few people in my building who would get a bit snippy about having to take part in something like this...even though its something the kids really enjoy.

Nicole Lemire's picture
Nicole Lemire
7th and 8th grade math teacher

I have had our students see who could memorize the most digits of Pi and recite them on Pi day. I think this is a very common activity but I am surprised at how many students hear about it in the other grades and come into class in September talking about how many they've memorized so far. The record in my school is 253 right now.
I have also had them make a project that involved one of the senses; sight, sound, touch, smell, taste... They had to represent the first 40 digits of Pi by using something specific assigned to each of the digits 0-9. A few examples that THEY came up with: making up a dance move for each digit and then recording the 40-move dance, making a necklace of beads where there were 10 different types of beads, one girl had her dad help her make a board with dowels sticking up from it where each dowel was color-coded and the same number of centimeters tall as the digit of Pi it represented.
I have not tried yet to encourage the rest of the school to participate. I think this year I will make it my mission. Any suggestions would be welcome. I teach in a K-8 school, so I'd love ideas for the younger grades as well.

Hubert V. Yee's picture
Hubert V. Yee
social media and marketing manager of startup

The Exploratorium has a great brief history on PI. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has some fun ideas and activities as to how to celebrate PI Day also.

I'm testing myself to see how many numbers I can remember up to. Only able to remember up to 11 numbers so far.

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