Five Great Ways to Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14

Pi Day Pies

Photo by djwtwo on Flickr.

March 14 (3/14), is only a few days away, which means it’s time to celebrate pi, everybody’s favorite irrational mathematical number (the 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday). Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it’s an irrational number, so it can’t be expressed as a simple fraction of two integers. 3.14 is just the beginning of pi, which goes on for infinity.

This STEM-themed holiday is an ideal time to plan some Pi-filled activities for your classroom or for children at home. Here are our five great tips to celebrate math on Pi Day.

  1. Prove Pi exists by measuring the circumference and diameter of circular objects around the classroom or house and solving for the equation: circumference = (pi) x (diameter).
  2. See how many digits of the number Pi you can recite. A Japanese man in 2005 memorized pi to 83,431 digits.
  3. Write a Pi-ku, a math version of the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic haiku. A Pi-ku of course, follows a 3-1-4 syllabic pattern.
  4. For example:
    Math is fun
    Mixed with some pie

  5. Bake a Pi-themed pie. Whether savory or sweet, eating deliciously circular pies is a highlight of every Pi day.
  6. Impress your friends by learning the song, “Mathematical Pi,” set to the tune of “American Pie”; or sing Pi Day carols.

Margaret Yau is a student at the University of California, San Diego, and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach

Math Teachers: The Nation Builders of the 21st Century

“It doesn’t matter what the academic subject is – or the age of the student. From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is the teacher,” said Secretary Duncan earlier today at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In the speech, the Secretary once again pointed to South Korea and Singapore, two countries that revere teachers as “nation builders.”

“In those countries, everyone understands that teachers are preparing the leaders and workers who will ensure the country’s long-term economic prosperity. In America, our teachers aren’t treated like the nation builders that they are.”

Math, as part of well-rounded education, will be key to America’s success in the 21st century. Students who have completed Algebra II in high school are twice as likely to earn a degree as those who didn’t. Secretary Duncan noted that Algebra provides a foundation of using logic to solve problems and to make connections between multiple pieces of information.

Young students learning multiplication tables today will be this country’s future mechanics, engineers, doctors and nurses. The Secretary explained to the math teachers at the meeting that whatever today’s students do 30 years from now:

The mathematics they’re learning today will provide the foundation for their success – and for the long-term prosperity of our country. Thank you for being the nation builders who are making that happen.