Education Technology

3.1415… Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Posted 03/08/2018 by Kimberly Gonzales (@kimsgonzales)

Any day is a better day with a little π (pi). Let’s celebrate pi day with some fun, meaningful activities that show students how the mathematical constant shows up in real life! 

1: Got Pi? Host a Pi Day potluck

Have your students bring circular food items for a potluck (cookies, pies, pizza, doughnuts, etc.) and have them measure circumference and diameter. Use the measurements to estimate pi, which should lend itself to a lively discussion on the accuracy of students’ work. For some added fun, have students plot the circumference vs. diameter on a graph. Then, calculate the slope of the students’ data points — yet another way to find pi!


2: Have your Pi and eat it, too!

Have you heard of the Buffon’s needle problem? This problem approximates pi by dropping needles. Well, wouldn’t it be safer and tastier to use breadsticks?!? Yum! Watch this how-to video:


3: Be rational, get real!

Another fun way to celebrate pi is to have your students dress up like someone who uses pi in the real world. Have students explain why they chose that person and how that person uses pi in their career. Some careers that come to mind include: astronaut, mechanical engineer and carpenter.

Girl dresses up like an astronaut

.1415926…. There’s more Pi where that came from

We also have many more pi day activities that use your TI graphing calculator. Here are two of my personal favorites: 

TI-Nspire CX Activity: Comparing Pi and Roots

In this TI-Nspire CX activity, students explore how the Pythagorean (or, should it be “pi-thagorean”?) Theorem and the circumference of a circle can be related. It’s as easy as pi!

TI-Nspire CX Activity: Why Bigger is Not Necessarily Better 

Did you know that the tiny little biological cells that make YOU, are tiny for a reason? Explore this biology activity that uses pi to calculate the volume of these tiny little bundles of life. Find out why bigger is not necessarily better, when it comes to your cells.

It’s true, any day’s better with a little pi. Happy Pi Day!