Fun With Digits...
There's no end to the number of ways you can put the endless
number to work, in digits-based activities that range from memory tests
to group photos.
Hold a classroom or school-wide contest for the recitation of the
most digits from memory. Offer a free pizza pi(e) to the winner.
»»»» You should expect the winner to memorize
about 30 or 40 digits, but every once in a while, a student like Gaurav
Raja (Roanoke, VA) comes along. He's up to a whopping 10,980, finally
securing the North American record.
»»»» Keep records from year to year, as a Pi Day Hall of Fame,
and notify your class of the all-time school best.
As a class or grade, create a pi chain with loops of
construction paper, using a different color for each of the ten
»»»» Word has it that Leslie H.S. in
Leslie, Michigan has set a new standard for pi chains everywhere:
13,726 links! And they did it all in a single school day!
»»»» Bloomfield H.S. in
Bloomfield, NJ spent Pi Day 2006 assembling a pi chain of 8,000
»»»» Students at Dallas H.S. in Dallas Township,
PA created a pi chain that was 7,147 digits long. It stretched nearly
half a mile.
Take an overhead photo of your students outside, forming the
first several digits of the number. Third graders can form the 3, first
graders the 1, and so on. A great image for the local newspaper!
»»»» This precise photo was taken at the
International School, Borneo (ISB) in March, 2005.
»»»» Why not make the math teachers the decimal point?
The day before Pi Day, pass out paper plates, and assign each student
a digit. Have them draw the number on the plate, and color and
decorate it. On Pi Day, hang them along a string or on the hallway wall,
or have everyone hold their plate and stand in one big circle.
»»»» At Foothill Knolls Elem.
in Ontario, CA, a square of more than 200 students was formed outside
the building, each one holding his or her decorated paper plate. "We
wanted to do just more than tell them about it," said sixth grade
teacher Beth Stone. "This allows them to actually become a part of Pi."
Make a chain of beads, where
each number is represented by a different color. Students can make
personal bracelets, or work on one ultra-long strand as a class.
»»»» Greenway School
students in Knoxville, TN worked to assemble a string of 4,000 beads.
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!
Hold an instant-memory
challenge for those who haven't learned any of the number by heart.
Ask for a student volunteer. As in the "Simon" game, have the student
parrot back the number after you say it, adding one more digit each
time, until they make a mistake.
»»»» You: "3.1415926."
Student: "3.141595...6?" You: "Oops! Nice job, you made it seven
»»»» Your class will be shocked as to how many digits they all know,
after five or ten of them take the challenge.
Have each student write one digit of pi
on a note card, and staple them in order as you hang them down
the math hallway.
»»»» Twelve hundred students
at Red River H.S. in Grand Forks, ND stapled 1,200 cards into an 80-foot
Pi Day banner.
On as many index cards as you have students in class, write two digits
of pi on each card, in large, clear print. (First card: "3 ."
Second card: "1 4", etc.) Shuffle the cards and hand them out to
the class. Display on the overhead projector the first ~70 digits, and
tell the students to find their own pair of digits in pi, then
stand up and silently assemble themselves in order. At the end, have
them recite the digits as quickly as possible, two by two, around the
room. See if the class can get a quick rhythm going!
»»»» At the end, have them recite the digits as
quickly as possible, two by two, around the room. See if the class
can get a quick rhythm going!
»»»» All this might help them appreciate the true randomness of the
digits, though they might discover a few repeated pairs along the way
(making for an interesting silent negotiation!). Hint: the numbers 32,
38, and 79 will appear twice, and oddly enough, in two clusters of six