March 14, Pi Day, has always been one of my favorite days of the year. Occasionally celebrated in my elementary school classes, but a much bigger deal once I reached middle and high school grades. There would be activities, teachers would dress up in quirky pi (or pie) socks and accessories, and of course—there were usually slices of pie doled out in celebration. Come to think of it, the chance to eat pie is probably why this holiday is so near and dear to my heart.
Now that I'm grown, I enjoy Pi Day even more because I work for a math organization. During my first few years at MIND Research Institute, I worked from our Irvine office where my colleague Todd would steadfastly bring in several pies each March 14 for everyone to enjoy. These past few years, I've worked remotely with my talented colleague Nina to bring mathematical Pi Day activities to you.
Just some of Nina's gorgeous Pi Day pies throughout the years.
This year, as I reflect on Pi Days past, I thought it would be fun to round up some of our Pi Day celebrations for you and share them all in one place. Whether you've been with us for every Pi Day or are just joining us now, I hope these activities and insights will bring the fun and joy of mathematics into your home or classroom.
The Square Pie
During our most recent Pi Day celebration, Nina helped us to truly understand why πr² is the equation we use to calculate the area of a circle—and she did it by making a square! Confused? Intrigued? Check out the video and full lesson here.
The Pie-thagorean Pie
While the connection between pi and Pythagoras is very loose, you can always count on Nina to make mathematical connections. This pie activity connects the two math concepts and is a great starting point for mathematical inquiry for students of all ages and ability levels. Check out the full lesson here, which includes bonus activities for middle school and elementary students.
The Vegetable Pie
If you prefer savory over sweet, this Pi Day activity is for you! Nina explores all kinds of different math ideas with vegetables as she takes you through the creation of this savory cheese tart. From the basics of pi to the rationality of irrational numbers, you'll want to check out the full lesson here.
The Pie Monster
Along with my love for pie and Pi Day comes my adoration for our ST Math pie monster. Pie monster is a sweet critter who has a passion for just two things in life: eating pies and helping you understand math. Why not celebrate this year's Pi Day by assigning some pie monster puzzles to your students throughout the week? If your students don't have an ST Math account yet, you can play with pie monster and explore two-step problem solving here.
I hope you'll join me in celebrating Pi Day this year! Whether it's by indulging in your favorite piece of pie or using one of our fun pi math lessons as a jumping-off point, there's no wrong way to embrace the spirit of the day. As for me, I'll be tucking into a slice of Dutch apple while I continue my work to mathematically equip all students to solve the world's most challenging problems.
If you do choose to celebrate, please share with us on social media by tagging @stmath on Twitter or Instagram. Happy Pi Day to all!
About the Author
Kelsey Skaggs is the Communications Manager at MIND Research Institute. She enjoys highlighting the work of colleagues and partners who champion MIND's mission.