Pi Day Celebration

I had heard of Pi day for a few years now and kept thinking it would be something fun to do when the kids were older and learning about/ using Pi in math.  I remember learning about Pi in high school so I figured when they were high school age.

But I have seen Pi mentioned a few times in Alec's 5/6th grade math book... 

Then it hit me!  If we celebrate Pi day every year until they are in high school they'll be more likely to remember that Pi is 3.14 just by talking about it one day a year for a few years! 

It doesn't hurt that they had so much fun with it too. 

Unfortunately, my epiphany did not happen until late and I did not have much time to pull supplies together for Pi day.  Many of the activities and books I wanted to use/ read would have required a trip to the store or the library and so we made do with the few activities we could do around the house. 

I vowed to do better next year. 

For this year we started by making Tollhouse Pie together; a pie that all three of my boys will eat. 

I showed them a print out of Pi and we talked about what infinite meant and the fact that Pi goes on forever. 

We then talked about diameter, radius, and circumference of a circle.

Using cylinders and string the boys would measure out the circumference of each object.  They then held the string over the diameter of the object and cut the string; making three long strings with one tiny part left over.  I explained that it was showing us 3.14. 

A visual of 3.14

I asked them if we could make the string fit around the object without the .14 piece.  They immediately told me the string would not be long enough. 

From there the boys went on to write Pi stories. 

I gave them three different writing ideas that they were allowed to choose from:  
  • They could write about their favorite pie and tell me why they liked it.
  • They could write in Pi format where either the number of words they used in each sentence lined up with Pi (the first sentence would have three words, the second sentence would have one word, then four words, etc.)
  • They could write in Pi format where each word followed the sequence (the first word would be made up of 3 letters, then the second word would have 1 letter, and the next word would have 4 letters, etc.).  
They each chose to write about their favorite pie.

We went on to do a fun artsy activity.  Using markers and graph paper they drew a Pi city. Graphing each number in the first few lines of Pi.  They were having so much fun that Ian told me he was going to complete his city later using all the lines across on his graph paper. 

Alec's city
When it was finally time to eat our Tollhouse pie I helped the boys use a string and a ruler to find the diameter of our pie and asked them how we could find the circumference.  The older boys told me 3.14 times 9.

I wrote the equation down for them on two separate pieces of paper and told them to calculate it for me.  Since Evan is just starting to learn his multiplication facts we rounded up to 10 and I had him work with me to find the circumference of the outside rim of our pie plate.

All three quickly found their answers and enjoyed a delicious slice of pie.

All in all we had a great time and the boys are already putting in requests for Apple and Pudding pie next year!

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  1. Replies
    1. I'm debating about letting you know that it's a stock photo and not my own! ;) Our pie was gone before I got a chance to take a picture of it!

  2. Fun! I got a late start too. Our pie was actually a cobbler in a pie pan...still it was tasty and the kids enjoyed making it.

    1. Hey it still counts. We were going to have a pizza "pie" for lunch but we had company over instead.

  3. Another blog I follow did the Pi skyline, too, and they painted a watercolor background for it and cut out the graph paper to glue onto it. :)

    1. I had talked to my boys about doing that but they didn't want to. I thought that looked so neat.

  4. My kids love making Pie on 3.14. Last year was the best as you could celebrate at 3.1415926 (I think that's it... 3/14/15 9:26am). And this year was "rounded" 3.1416. Won't be that way for a while. But its a great tradition.

    Did you know we have square root day coming on April 4? That only happens 9 times a century so make plans now as you may not have another while your kids are still at home. 4x4=16

    1. I did not know that! I'll have to come up with something fun for square root day.

  5. What a wonderful Unit Study! Thanks for sharing your smart and delicious ideas at Together on Tuesdays :)

    1. They've already started planning next years' Pi day.

  6. When I taught 5th grade math we always celebrated Pi Day. I always brought moon pies to school - they loved it. You need to check out the mathematical pi song on you tube. The kids sang that for weeks!


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