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Student Engagement

5-Minute Film Festival: Hooray for Pi Day

Pi Day celebrates the joys of the essential mathematical symbol, Pi, and the delicious dessert, pie! This collection of videos will help you make the most of Pi Day, whether you like pastries or math problems. 

February 27, 2015

Do you celebrate Pi Day? Pi is an essential mathematical symbol, representing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Coincidentally, pie, a delicious dessert usually made with a pastry crust and fruit filling, shares the same pronunciation. So someone came up with the brilliant idea to combine them and celebrate both on one day: March 14th, or 3/14 (which matches the first digits of pi). It's one of those rare holidays that can make math fun for anyone, whether you're the kind of person who's interested in a tart pastry or a juicy math problem. Not sure what I'm talking about? Just read (and watch!) on for more Pi Day fun.

Video Playlist: Pi Day Resources

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

  1. Pi Explained in 3:14 by Richard Bew (3:14)

    Pi might have a simple name, but it's a fairly complex (and important!) number. Here's a great explainer on what Pi means, who was responsible for discovering its value, and how to calculate it.

  2. Happy Pi Day! Pi and Pie are AMAZING by DNews (4:08)

    "But Keyana!" you say. "I'm still a little bit confused about Pi Day. Could you explain it again?" I'm glad you asked! The folks over at Discovery News are here to explain what's up.

  3. How Pi Was Nearly Changed to 3.2 by Numberphile (4:56)

    Although math's rules might seem rigid and immutable in the classroom, math can still be affected by politics. This video by the amazing math-enthusiast channel Numberphile tells the story of a time when Pi was almost changed to 3.2 -- by law!

  4. Anti-Pi Rant by Vi Hart (4:19)

    Celebrating Pi is all well and good, especially since the holiday can make more students interested in math. But in our rush to popularize the number, is it possible we're spreading some misconceptions about its true meaning? Mathematician Vi Hart investigates.

  5. Pi in Song: Piano and Saxophone! by OprahMemorizedPi (3:50)

    Okay, now you know what pi is (and what it isn't!) -- but have you ever wondered what pi sounds like? These two young musicians rose to the challenge and recorded a song based on Pi, where each digit of pi was assigned a certain musical note value. For the encore, perhaps you might consider this YTMND classic, which uses the digits of pi as its lyrics. Or perhaps this other popular Pi song by Michael Blake.

  6. Apple "Pi Day" Pie Recipe by Heart of Tarts (5:04)

    You didn't think I was going to let you get through an entire Pi Day playlist without at least one video about food, did you? Here's a super-simple recipe for a no-bake apple pie that you can make in your classroom or your kitchen!

More Pi Day Resources

Here's a great list of activities and other resources for celebrating Pi Day in your classroom -- even if you aren't a math teacher!

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