Education Technology

3.1415… Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Posted 03/08/2021 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. For some added fun, have students plot the circumference versus 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: 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 Texas Instruments (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 our new “Mathtastic Pi Day Activities” webinar that shares a collection of Pi Day activities that you can sink your teeth into whether you are teaching online, hybrid or in person. It’s true: Any day is better with a little (or a lot of) pi.

Happy Pi Day!

About the author: Ellen Fishpaw is the Media Relations and Communications Manager for Texas Instruments Education Technology. Before joining TI seven years ago, Fishpaw was a broadcast journalist for 13 years, working at television stations across the country, from North Carolina to New Mexico. She most recently worked for NBC 5 in Dallas as a crime reporter before hanging up the microphone for a TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculator. Follow her on Twitter @ellenfishpaw.