Prepare for a mathematics party on March 14, also known as Pi Day! Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi. It is celebrated on March 14, or, in month/date format, 3/14, since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three digits of pi.
Learn more about the significance of pi in mathematical research and its everyday applications with these resources and instructional ideas.
Presents a detailed tour of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), explains how different standards of measurement are calculated, and examines how pi factors into the many different facets of standardized measurement. Canadian subscribers, access here.
At the beginning of study, create an anchor chart with the title Pi Day. Under the title, write the question, Why is Pi Day always March 14? Have students write their answers on the same color post-it notes and stick to the anchor chart.
After discussing student responses, view the video, Variables. Pause the video at 0:45 seconds. Write the word, Symbol, on either the anchor chart or whiteboard. Ask students: What is a symbol? What examples of symbols did you see in the video? Depending on the grade level, have students write or draw a symbol they saw in the video and stick to the anchor chart on a different colored post-it.
Continue to play the video, then pause at 1:45. Ask students: How are symbols used in the mathematics world? How are symbols and pi related? On the Pi Day Anchor Chart, add the symbol and number for pi. Rewind video if needed for exact information about pi. Ask students if they have a new idea why pi Day is always on March 14.
After building student background knowledge on pi, use SOS: Puppet Pictures with the lesson starter, Pi Day Puppet Pictures. As students gain more information about pi and Pi Day, encourage them to add a different colored post-it onto the anchor chart with their new knowledge.
Have students use Discovery Education Board Builder to create Symbols posters individually or in small groups. Differentiate depending on student/group and instruct students to choose between 3-10 symbols with which they are familiar, including pi.
Encourage students to use both words and pictures to identify and illustrate the symbols and their meanings. As part of your Pi Day Celebration, have a gallery walk where students display their boards either on computers with printed versions.
Celebrate this exciting day by reaching out to each other Discovery Education classrooms. Join the DEN Friends Facebook group and see if anyone wants to Mystery Skype and get a peek into how other classrooms celebrate Pi Day.