March 14 is Pi Day! What is Pi Day, you ask? Pi day is a holiday that is all about embracing your mathematical side, promoting STEM learning and eating delicious circular foods. Want to know more, read on.
- Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Library
- Craft Foam
- Measuring tape and ruler
- Markers/Crayons/Colored Pencils
What is Pi?
Pi is the mathematical constant that you get when you divide a circle’s circumference by its diameter. What does that mean? Let’s get out our Arts and Crafts Library for assistance.
Find one of the little wooden circles and a couple of striped fuzzy sticks.
The circumference is the distance around the outside of the circle. Place a fuzzy stick around the outside of the wooden circle and cut it to size. Then straighten it out. That’s the circumference of the wooden circle.
Now, use a different fuzzy stick to measure the distance across the circle through the middle and cut it. That’s the diameter.
The circumference piece is longer than the diameter piece, but by how much?
Cut out a few more diameter pieces (as close to the same size as you can, you can use the stripes on the pipe cleaner to help you ensure they are approximately the same size) and figure out how many you’d need to make one circumference piece.
To get one circumference length, you will use 3 full diameter pieces and then there’s a little extra left. So, our answer is a number between 3 and 4.
If we tried this same exercise with a different sized circle, we’d get the same results - no matter the size of the circle, we will always get 3 plus a little bit. This is pi!
Pi is Forever
Pi’s exact value is 3.1415926535... and it goes on and on forever with no repeating patterns. As of 2020, a computer has calculated 50 TRILLION digits of pi and there was no sign of patterns. So, pi goes on forever and forever - a string of numbers into infinity.
Most of the time we shorten pi’s value to 3.14 (hence why we celebrate Pi Day on March 14!) and that gets us “close enough” for most of our mathematical needs.
One Pi Day activity that a lot of people like to do is try to memorize as many digits as they can. The Guinness Book of World Records is currently at 70,000 digits!
Here’s a coloring sheet of the pi symbol! There are so many fun things you can do with this sheet. Fill it in dots/circles for a beautiful abstract art piece. Make a Pi Day card to send to friends. Or see how many digits of pi can you fit in the pi symbol to help with your memorization challenge!
Why Celebrate Pi?
While there are loads of interesting mathematical constants out there, we love pi because it sounds like pie, which allows for some fun puns (like, did you know that 3.14% of sailors are pi-rates?) and gives us a reason to eat delicious pie. Pi Day is a way to make math more approachable and fun! Learn math, eat some pie, celebrate and be silly… a win-win all around.
We use pi whenever we want to calculate something about a circle… like its volume or area. So engineers, scientists and mathematicians are using pi all the time to do all kinds of important things. For example, rocket scientists at JPL use pi as 3.141592653589793 for their calculations involving space travel. All those digits help the engineers be super accurate with the big distances involved with space.
Pi Day Craft
Besides eating pie on Pi Day, we celebrate this holiday by seeking out circles and spheres. And of course, we craft! For our Pi Day craft, we’re going to make a Pi Crown. Every party deserves a party hat and a crown is round!
First we need the craft foam. Measure the circumference of the head that will wear the crown. Cut a strip of craft foam about 1.5 to 2 inches high and a few inches longer than the length of the head’s circumference.
If one piece of craft foam isn’t long enough, you can stitch two pieces together to get the necessary length with the needle and thread found in the Arts and Craft Library.
Cut out a pi symbol from felt in the Arts and Craft Library. If you don’t trust free-cutting this, feel free to copy/paste/resize/print the pi symbol from above and use it as a stencil by tracing along the outside. The size of the symbol should be less than 2 inches to fit on the felt from the Arts and Crafts Library.
Cut out a circle from craft foam that your pi symbol can fit within. Glue the pi symbol on the circle. Then glue that pi medallion onto the middle of the craft foam strip. I glued my circle right in the middle of my strip, covering the place where I stitched the two strips together.
Now we’re ready for the kids to go on a circle safari in the Arts and Crafts Library… have them find all kinds of circles and spheres to attach to the crown… sequins, pom poms, beads, gems… there are so many fun circles and spheres in the Arts and Craft Library!
You can use glue to attach some things, like the sequins. For the beads and pom-poms, I used the needle and thread included in the Library.
Now size the crown on the wearer’s head. Use a pen to mark where you need to close it off. Use the needle and thread to sew the craft foam closed to create the crown.
And now, you’re ready for a proper Pi Day party. Enjoy your pie and hooray for math!
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