No Pi Day is complete without treats! Encourage students and fellow teachers to bring in cakes, cookies, and pies with a Pi Day theme.
» Students at Chittenango H.S. in Syracuse, NY who brought in pi-themed treats received extra credit points.
» Even grown-ups celebrate Pi Day! The 1,600 Wisconsin employees of software firm Epic Systems shared 274 pies at exactly 1:59 on March 14. “They tried to start a minute early,” the event’s coordinator explained. “But I wouldn’t let them.”
Use string, rulers and round treats to check the value of pi. Make a number line (like an oversized ruler, perhaps) on the chalkboard, and have students mark their results on it. Compare them to the actual value of pi.
» Students’ results likely won’t be too close to 3.14! 3.10 or 3.18 would be pretty darn good. Discuss what’s causing the slight error, and whether the size of the circular object affects it.
» Fifth and sixth graders at Foothill Knolls Elem. in Ontario, CA measured Cheerios, Ding Dong cupcakes, crackers, M&Ms, and cookies for this project.
Find the fair-share size of each slice of pie that your students are about to eat! As a demo or as group work, take the number of pies donated, an assumed diameter per pie, and the number of students in the class, and find the area of each piece when everyone gets an equal slice.
» For a further step, calculate the slice’s volume, or its surface area (assuming the pies are short cylinders!).
» Angie Mentges’ class at Sidney M.S. in Dayton, OH divided 11 pies among 28 students.
Hold a pie-baking contest, where students and teachers bake and submit pies to a panel of judges, maybe drawn from the community. Raise money for a charity or your math club by selling the remaining slices of each pie.
» Teachers at Schroeder M.S. in Grand Forks, ND raised $125 for their local Humane Society through a Pi Day pie bakeoff they called the “Power of Pie” contest. Judging of the 22 pies was done by the newspaper’s food editor, and a few community leaders. Aside from the overall winners, ribbons were also given to the Best Presentation and Ugliest Pie.
Raise money through an auction of donated homemade pies, given by teachers and parents.
» A total of $1,050 was raised for charity by a Ft. Myers, FL school on Pi Day 2005. A single pie, toasted coconut pecan, went for $55!
Bake small bread loaf-style cakes, and frost each one with five digits of pi. Line them up, and dig in.
» One school in Spokane, WA ate 150 digits this way!
Have students toss cream pies at the faces of teachers or administrators. Make sure to charge a buck or two for each toss to raise money for charity; they’ll certainly pay it!
If students participate in at least 75 percent of Pi Day activities, allow them to throw a cream pie at you.
» “I’m smelling like cream for three or four days,” says teacher Tom Bronson of Independent Day School in Tampa, FL.
Compile a recipe book of pies and desserts, from parents and colleagues, and hold an art contest for a pi-themed book cover. Encourage the recipe donors to bring in actual examples!
» Arlington M.S. in Poughkeepsie, NY turned this recipe book project into a charitable one: 90 homemade pies, quiches, and pizzas (with accompanying recipes) were donated to a local food shelf.