Happy Pi Day!
It’s Pi Day, which brings to mind a couple of things about which I’m pretty pleased. First of all, both of my kids are in a wonderful (and generally short) window of time. They know more digits of pi than they are years old. The 12-year-old knows about 30 digits, while the (almost) 9-year-old knows about 10 digits. I certainly don’t know more than forty-something digits.
Second, I am pleased that my kids (and many others) care enough to learn these digits without any pushing on my part. Their school celebrates Pi Day with contests and sharing sweet and savory pies. It pleases me that schools and kids care enough to celebrate this really great number.
I still agree that Tau Day should be celebrated, but June 28th happens to fall too late for many schools to celebrate it. I also wish that February had 71 days so we could celebrate “e Day” (the amazing transcendental number e is about 2.718281828459045), but I digress. Let’s celebrate pi, but more importantly celebrate that it is being celebrated.
Here are some things to do on Pi Day:
- Learn what pi is
- Try some of these Pi Day activities
- Watch pi videos
- Listen to the Pi Symphony (first movement) and the composer’s explanation
- Try out this flash experiment which converts the first 10,000 digits of pi into a musical sequence
Pi Day is a great opportunity to get kids interested in math and teach them math concepts in the process. If you’re looking for ways to supplement your child’s math education, you might want to consider LearnBop, a highly adaptive online math program for grades 4–12, LearnBop simulates one-to-one learning by providing immediate individualized instruction to the child’s needs. With step-by-step guidance from award-winning experts built into every problem, LearnBop adapts in real time to student interactions and breaks down larger math problems into smaller, more manageable steps so they can develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Schools have been using LearnBop for several years with great success, and now this personalized program will be available to students outside of the classroom. View the website for more details. LearnBop will be available later this spring, but you can sign up now to receive a special 33 percent discount off the subscription price.
This post was updated March 9, 2016
Paul Thomas is director of mathematics for K12. Previously, he taught mathematics and computer science at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia. While at Jefferson, he was a contributing author for the mathematics textbook series Mathematics: Modeling Our World. Paul also has managed corporate training departments, and developed classroom, computer-based, and web-based training products that have been used by companies such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and Novell. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.S. in Operations Research from George Mason University.