Education Technology

3.1415… Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Posted 03/11/2022 by Ellen Fishpaw (@ellenfishpaw)

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: Sweet as pi

Have your students pick a circular food item (think cookies, pie, 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 the students’ work. Add to the learning by having students plot the circumference versus diameter on a graph. Then, calculate the slope of the students’ data points — yet another way to find pi!

When the lesson is done, you and your students can wolf down your sweet treats for a Pi Day of fun!

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: Pi Day puns

Bay Area math teacher and Instagrammer extraordinaire, Stephanie Yi (@mathwithmsyi), created this printable Pi Day joke board to decorate your classroom and multiply your enjoyment of the holiday. Post this on your bulletin board and add some flair to your classroom all year — not just on Pi Day!

Math is sweet as PI

.1415926 ... There’s more pi where that came from

We have plenty of Pi Day activities using your TI graphing calculator. Here are two of our favorites:

Comparing Pi and Roots

In this middle school math 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!

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.

And, don't forget to check out the new "World of Pi" webinar for additional ways TI technology can be used to explore pi in different areas of mathematics. Another helpful resource to check out for activity ideas is the "Mathtastic Pi Day Activities" webinar. Any day is better with a little (or a lot of) pi.

Happy Pi Day!

About the author: Ellen Fishpaw is the former Media Relations and Communications Manager for Texas Instruments Education Technology. Currently she works in Corporate Communications for TI. Follow her on Twitter @ellenfishpaw.