Pi day is on its way! Here are just a few ideas to get Pi festive on the 14th of March!
We know many teachers will be reading this. We want to give you a helpful guide through the ideas that we have listed below as well as the key resources needed and a rough guide on the cost level and difficulty of planning in preparing for each activity!
Let’s start with baking a Pi Pie!
Ingredients for a Pie
Any circular pie with any flavor will do but have some extra pastry to get your pi Symbol on top. It will be a great addition to any fundraising event!
Create a fantastic and Easy Pi Day Paper Chain
Plenty of paper with 10 separate and vibrant colors.
Scissors or guillotine
Bright and colorful pens.
Cost: Low (normal classroom resources only)
Similar to our favorite irrational number pi, paper chains can go on and on and on forever! With a whole class or an entire year group, you can create a simple but impressive Pi Day paper chain with endless loops of construction paper. What we can do is use different colors for every one of the 10 digits (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0). Each piece of colored paper in the chain will represent a digit (or decimal place) in Pi. With teachers around the world getting into Pi Day to celebrate mathematics and have even attempted to beat the world records. So how long can you get your Pi day paper chain? How long could it be if you can get the whole school involved? Why not go for the world record in paper chains!
Create a human Pi chain
Pi printed on separate paper
1183 or more people!
Cost: Low to Medium depending on arrangements and organization costs
Can you just imagine having an entire class getting lined up so the numbers they are holding creates the value of Pi? Well, what about the entire school? That is what The Sultan’s School (Oman), in Seeb, Oman, did on 14 March 2018 to celebrate pi day. They had a whopping 1,182 participants to secure their place in the Guinness book of world records. Why not get your entire school involved? What about your other local schools? Maybe with a little planning, you can beat that record and some!
Memorizing the digits of Pi
Printed or electronic list of digits of Pi to 100 decimal places or more!
Some Pie as a super and delicious prize!
Cost: Low (printing costs + a prize)
This is an easy and fantastic way to get the kids involved with pi day! All you need to do is hold a contest to see who can recite the most decimal places of pi! They can start up to 100 decimal places but this activity can be extended easily by giving them even more decimal places! Not to mention, once they know pi to 100 decimal places it makes a good party trick! Why not make it interesting with a delicious prize of apple pie?
To help you get started on the memorization of pi, why not watch a catchy song about the first 100 digits of pi! You can find it on Youtube. You can even play it in the background while your students get to work on one of the other activities and projects!
Pi Word Competition
Some know-how and a timer
Of course, we say Pi so we think Pie and that’s why we want a Pie eating contest! But a Pi-writing contest is even better. Give the kids three minutes for them to write as many words they can that start with the two little letters Pi!
Let’s get into the Maths of it all!
Various circular objects to measure.
We can’t truly celebrate Pi Day without getting our hands on our notebooks and doing some of the maths! As it is a favorite with maths teachers in the UK to get students discovering pi, grab some circular objects such as tea caddies, soup cans, tins of baked beans, pie tins, clocks, paper plates, bowls, candles, old CDs/DVDs and so much more. To make it easier on ourselves, why not set the homework to bring in 3 circular objects to measure!
You can then get the kids to measure the diameter (this is the distance from each side of the circle but must go through the center of the circle) and the circumference (the length that goes around the outer edge of the circle). All we have to do now is to divide the circumference by the diameter and sit back as they discover the amazing ratio we know and love as pi. 3.14 every single time with every circle!
Why not make it interesting and run a competition for the most accurate measurements. The more accurate decimal places of pi they get the bigger the reward! Or even better why not bring some treats to measure then eat! With cookies, donuts, and of course pies available for a mathematical munchie afternoon!
There’s no party like a pizza Pi party!
Pizza cutter (why not get a Pi shaped pizza cutter)
Pi Day isn’t Pi Day without a PIE! So why not make it a Pizza Pie! After all, they are circular and are used by mathematicians around the world to help explain circle properties. From describing the radius as the length of your slice to manipulating the pizza slices to demonstrate that the more sections of pizza there are the closer we get to a true parallelogram! Thus, explaining the area of a circle. Pizza is also good for fractions in maths so a way to include the younger ones and learn about fractions on pi day! After all, for century’s Pi was approximated to a fraction 22/7! Why not take the Pi day lesson further and discuss the ratios between one smaller piece to the larger piece, a great way to compare the ratio of lengths and areas! So let’s get cutting our favorite pizzas! Pepperoni with extra cheese, anyone?
Some paper Pi Plates please!
As our little ones at home are likely not to be ready to comprehend pi and what it represents, this activity is a great substitute! We can get stuck into our pies on pi days with some simple maths activities that introduce them to circles, ratios and fractions! Cut up your paper plates to represent a few different fractions and kids can then mix and match the pieces to make a complete “pie” to decorate and even label. This helps the kids learn about circles, you can add fractions into the task by having, for example, ½,¼,⅛ and 2 1/16 pieces that they can put together.
Host a themed fundraiser on Pi day with a Pie/pi twist!
Homemade pies and cakes pi themed
Cost: Hopefully profitable!
Difficulty: High (organizing such event will be a lot of work but well worth the effort when you have raised the money for such a good cause!)
Description of this one is pretty clear, a pi themed fundraising event. Examples of what students, teachers, and parents can bake include pizza, all pies (whatever flavor your favorite is), cupcakes and large cakes decorated with our favorite greek letter. Now, for the twist charge £3.14 for each cake/pizza! Raise your money for a good cause or to help by that much-needed equipment your department needs! Time to grab your apron and get baking!
Get more maths in Pi day with some fun Nets and Craft yourself your very own Pi gift boxes!
Colour card or paper
Printable nets or a compass and a ruler
Gift boxes can be made in all shapes and sizes and you can use nets to get cute paper/card gift boxes and fill them with any of the many delicious circular treats available in many markets!
Many nets can be found online for free and can be cut out and stuck together fairly easily. But, why not get the kids to decorate the box with the pi value and symbols to really celebrate pi day! Or even better, why not use a net that gives you the shape of a slice of pie!
Read “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi”
Resources: The book Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
There is a very engaging book that lets you read about maths. It is about Sir Cumference who gets changed into a dragon. Sir Cumference’s son must search for clues to the magical number. You guessed it right! The magical number is Pi! It is a great way to get maths into storytime on Pi day. If you are interested in this book, Amazon sells it! it is part of a series of books that you will probably love too!
How about telling some corny Pi Jokes!
Resources: Some brain power to memorize some jokes!
Yes! Come to the Dark Side! I have Pi! Yes, you may get some moans and groans from the students but I bet a few giggles too! Why not check out some funny Pi jokes in a previous article, here.
Getting the kids to write poetry is always an adventure but why not give it a pi twist on pi day with pi-ku poetry! These are fast and simple poems where it is based around the number of syllables. Each new line in the poem has a different number of syllables. You guessed it! It is based on the digits of pi!
For example, the first line will have 3 syllables, the second line 1 syllables, the third line 4 syllables and so on! You could even have the poem based on their favorite type of pie or even the circle of life!
Here is an example poem:
I love Pie
Cream or Custard
Get the apron and start baking!
Everything needed for the recipe
Cost: Medium to High depending on how many you want to make!
Difficulty: Medium to Hard depending on how good a baker you are!
Pi shaped cookies always go down well with the young ones! Whether you buy a pi shaped cookie cutter or make your own stencil and cut out your own they make a lovely way to celebrate Pi Day! You could even sell them as part of a pi day fundraising! Or munch down on them while you do some other activities!
Become a Conductor and produce an epic pi symphony!
Some musical instruments
Difficulty: easy to medium depending if you use your own instruments.
Yes, that is right Pi can be music! An experimental adobe flash player based application called pi10k, this is a very simple and easy to use app but we find it easier to run on Microsoft Edge rather than google chrome as you need to authorize the use of flash on many computers depending on your settings. It is so simple to do as you simply select 10 notes of your choice on the keyboard. Each note represents the digits 0-9 and then will be played based on pi. So the third note, then the first and then the forth and so on and so forth. It plays a very unique sympathy! And great fun for pi day!
Why not push the musical whim and use different sounds for each number such as a clap for 1 whistle for 2 and so on! So get the triangles, drum kits and recorders ready! The first 20 to 30 digits of pi should be enough and then repeat it over and over to get a good rhythm to demonstrate.
Put together a fantastic puzzling pi puzzle
Puzzle from Standards Puzzle
A company called Standards in Puzzles has created a great series of puzzling puzzles for us to get going on! The series is designed to teach some common core concepts and this particular one is focused on Pi! The puzzle even includes a lesson plan with detailed ideas of how to use this resource to set up 5 stations of activity that the students can move around to. It’s an activity bundle all about Pi day giving you the activities all in one box! You can find Standards puzzles pi creation in Amazon!
Get out your pack of cards and start playing!
Packs of cards
Printouts of pi to 100 decimal places
For a simple card game that introduces our young ones to the concept of cards as well as pi why not play this fun Pi game. It is simple to set up and get the kids into a race to see who can get rid of every single card in their deck. The kids will, therefore, lay out each card in the order of each decimal place of Pi!
Let’s say 3 of hearts then the ace of spades then the 4 of diamonds and so on.
To help why not print the digits of Pi out on paper, to begin with, so they can have a reference as they go! But don’t forget to challenge the older players to recall as many digits as they can first! Getting it all from memory is so much more fun!
Make your own Jigsaw puzzle for Pi
Printer and Paper
Cost: Low just the papers
Difficulty: Medium (time-consuming to cut it out)
Much smaller than the one above but you can print blank jigsaw puzzle and with some colors and the pi numbers you can make your own ready to cut out and put together! Blank jigsaws are available with a quick google search. Once they have decorated it, you can cut it out mix it up and see if the kids can get it.
Make a Pi-line rather than a skyline!
Never before has bar charts been so well used! All you need to do is use the digits of pi as the frequencies on the Pi chart (the numbers on the vertical axis). Make them some nice colors for the buildings and a blue sky or even some constellations with a pi-in-the-sky. Yes, Pi is now art!
Why not bring some Valentines into Pi-days and make some pi-lentines
Okay, Valentine’s day was last month! But why not spice up Pi day with a few Pi-lentines by dusting out all your best Pi puns and Pi Jokes to add to your Pi shaped greeting cards! Why not even hold a competition for the best design, best pun, and best joke!
Time to get Dressed up to the 3.14 level
T-shirt, hats anything with Pi or Pi Puns!
Yup, Pi day is when every maths teacher around the world will be showing off their best Pi Day gear! So why not join them! The markets today are awash with choices to celebrate our best irrational number. You can even make your own T-shirt if you are in a crafty mood!
Grab your Shoes and your Pi t-shirt and start running!
Some good shoes and some stamina
Costs: Free unless you organize a big event with lots of people!
A Pi day fun run would be a great way to spend Pi day but also an amazing way to plan for a fundraising event. After all, five kilometers is only a little shorter than 3.14 miles! Oh and the winning prize? Of course! Some Apple Pie!
Give the kids some personalized pencils
Cost: Medium to High
An easy way to celebrate Pi day would be to personalize some pencils with the digits of Pi. They can be bought or if you feel crafty you could make your own!
Fancy some fancy pi inspired stained glass plates?
Arts and crafts, of course, are always a fun Pi day treat but this has its own unique effect. We cut the tissue paper into circles (you can use the compass and pencil to help get good circles of different sizes) and place them on a paper plate to recreate the stained glass effect. Then why not write the numbers of pi around the plate. Makes an awesome display in any classroom or even stuck on the fridge.
Watch a video
This one can be a good way to start the activities as someone calculates Pi using Pies! You can of course always recreate the activities in your kitchen! Numberphiles do it well, we think you will enjoy it! These videos are available on Youtube!
Cuddle party with some plush pi’s
Some Plush Pi’s
Cost: Medium to High depending on how many you buy!
Yes, even babies and toddlers can celebrate pi day wit a lovely Plush Pi’s! These even make wonderful prizes and gifts for other Pi Day events so why not get yours today?
Do a scavenger hunt
Lots of objects or printed fun pi facts!
Treasure hunts are fun ways to get the classes going on various math topics so why not with Pi Day? List some clues and have lots of Pi related objects and fun facts related to Pi and place them around the house or classroom. Small groups will work best and see who can get through the list of clues first, or maybe just who has the most items before the end of the hour.
Get crafty with a Pi themed bracelet
Beads and string to make the bracelets
List of pi numbers.
An easy activity for the young ladies would be making a bead bracelet. They can do this two ways, one way is to have 3 beads of one color followed by 1 bead of another, 4 of another and so on. Alternatively, assign the digits 0-9 with a color e.g. 1 is green, 2 is blue, 3 is red, 4 is orange and so on. Thus the bracelet will go red bead, green bead and then orange bead!
Have a Photoshoot
Drone with HD Camera
Lots of people
Cost: Free unless you need to buy the drone
Drone photos are an epic part of any good celebration nowadays so why not pi day! The only difficulty is getting everyone standing in the right place to make the Pi symbol. To help try drawing a Pi outline with some chalk on the ground so everyone can fill the outline! Rather than the symbols why not the first few digits (don’t forget the decimal!)
Got more ideas for Pi Day or any activities you have done in school-related to Pi? Do let us know so we can include them in our list of Pi Day activities too!