Pi is a unique number that represents the circumference-to-diameter ratio of a circle. It has been studied and calculated for thousands of years, and ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians and Egyptians used it in their work. Every year on March 14th, there is a celebration known as Pi Day in honor of the mathematical constant Pi and its applications in various fields.1,2 So, what better opportunity than Pi Day does one have to introduce their children to Pi in a fun and engaging way?
Today, let’s look at Pi, the history and significance of Pi Day, as well as some fun activities you and your child can do to celebrate this important mathematical concept.3,4,5 So, grab a piece of pie and get ready to learn about Pi!
What is Pi?
Have you ever looked at a circle and wondered how we figure out how big it is? That’s where Pi comes in! Pi is a special number that helps us figure out the size of circles. It’s a number that goes on forever and ever, and it’s represented by the symbol “π.” Whatever the size of the circle, it’s always the same number—3.14!
What is the History of Pi?
Pi’s history dates back to ancient civilizations, with the Egyptians and Babylonians making the first known approximations to its value around 2000 BC. Archimedes, an ancient Greek mathematician, is credited with making significant contributions to the understanding of Pi in the third century BC. However, the symbol for Pi (π) that we use today was not made until William Jones from Wales made this symbol in the 18th century.
Why is Pi Important?
Pi tells us how many times the diameter of a circle fits around the circle. The diameter is the distance across the circle, from one side to the other, and the circumference is the distance all the way around the circle. We can use Pi to figure out the circumference of a circle if we know the diameter.
Furthermore, Pi is a fundamental mathematical concept with numerous real-world applications ranging from science and engineering to art and design. Some of these include:6,7,8,9,10
- Architecture and Construction: To calculate the size and shape of circular structures like domes and arches.
- Engineering: To design and build things like airplane engines, car suspensions, and roller coaster loops.
- Physics and Astronomy: To calculate things like the orbits of planets and the behavior of particles and waves.
- Computer Science: To develop algorithms and simulations, such as calculating the digits of Pi itself.
- Statistics: To analyze data and make predictions about future events.
When is Pi Day?
Pi Day is an annual celebration held on March 14th (3/14) to honor the mathematical constant Pi, which is approximately equal to 3.14. Pi Day is celebrated to recognize the significance of Pi in math and science. It is also a fun way to celebrate the beauty and complexity of math.
The celebration of Pi Day was first organized in 1988 by a physicist named Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Since then, it has become a popular holiday among math enthusiasts and educators all over the world.3,4
What are Some Pi Day Activities That You can do With Your Child?
Pi Day presents an excellent opportunity to involve children in enjoyable and instructive math and science-related activities. Here are some fun activities you can do with your child to celebrate Pi Day and help them understand the significance of Pi in math and science.1,2
- Bake a pie together and discuss Pi and its significance.
- Create Pi-themed crafts, such as a Pi bracelet or a Pi paper chain.
- Measure circular objects around the house and calculate their circumference and diameter using Pi.
- Write a Pi-themed story or poem using Pi-related words and facts.
- Make Pi art by using different colors to represent the digits of Pi.
- Play a Pi-themed game, such as memorizing as many numbers of Pi as you can or going on a Pi-themed scavenger hunt.
- Watch educational videos or documentaries about Pi and its uses in math and science.
- Explore Pi-related concepts and activities on various books, websites, or apps.
- Participate in virtual or in-person Pi Day events hosted by museums, science centers, or educational institutions.
So why not try out some of these ideas with your child this Pi Day and see how much fun you can have while learning together!
Enjoyed reading this blog? Visit Byju’s FutureSchool Blog to find out more about various math events.
- PI DAY – March 14, 2023 – National Today. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://nationaltoday.com/national-pi-day/
- NATIONAL PI DAY – March 14 – National Day Calendar. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-pi-day-march-14/
- What Is Pi, and How Did It Originate? – Scientific American. (1999). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-pi-and-how-did-it-originate/
- What is Pi? | Pi Day. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.piday.org/learn-about-pi/
- Pi | Definition, Symbol, Number, & Facts | Britannica. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.britannica.com/science/pi-mathematics
- Real Life Application Of Pi – Amazing Discovery Of Mathematics- Archimedes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://amazingarchimedes.weebly.com/real-life-application-of-pi.html
- Happy Pi Day: 5 Ways NASA Uses Pi – Universe Today. (2014). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.universetoday.com/110331/happy-pi-day-5-ways-nasa-uses-pi/
- Life is Weird – Ten Real Life Applications of the Most Famous Number in the World, Pi (2016) | Green World Investor. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.greenworldinvestor.com/2016/06/05/life-is-weird-ten-real-life-applications-of-the-most-famous-number-in-the-world-pi/
- 5 Ways Engineers Use Pi. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.honeywell.com/us/en/news/2020/03/5-ways-our-engineers-use-pi
- 22 Fascinating Facts About Pi(π) That Will Make You Amazed. (2022)| by Ali | Medium. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://ali.medium.com/22-fascinating-facts-about-pi-%CF%80-that-will-make-you-amazed-4831ed694264