March 14 is Pi Day – a day to celebrate the mathematical constant pi (π). The digits in the date, March 14 or 3/14, are the first three digits of π (3.14), Pi Day was founded by Physicist Larry Shaw in 1988.
Pi Day is a great excuse to engage children in fun math challenges meant to enrich and deepen their understanding of the concept of Pi. Activities might include investigations of the value of Pi, special Pi projects and parties with pizza or other kinds of “Pi.”
Kumon Math and Reading Centre Instructors have compiled some fun activities to help families celebrate Pi, while incorporating the self-learning method that Kumon follows. Here are a few fun ways to celebrate Pi Day and have your kids problem-solve and learn on their own at the same time!
Make a Pi Bracelet or Necklace
To celebrate Pi Day this year, break out the craft kit and make yourself a fun fashion accessory!
- Different colours of beads
- Pipe cleaners, thread or string
- A pen and a pad of paper
- Write out as many Pi digits as you can and and colour code each number.
- Grab different colours of beads and begin to string them onto the thread or a pipe cleaner you select to make your bracelet.
- Start to place the beads onto the thread in order of Pi’s number sequence and the colours you’ve selected for each digit.
- Tie up the thread and wear your new accessory – use it to memorize the digits of Pi!
Host a Pi Word Challenge
Word challenges are always a hit with children. Here’s a fun way to enhance and test children’s vocabulary and help them learn new words as well!
- Pencil and pen for each participant OR
- Scrabble board game letters
- Challenge children to write down as many words they can think of that include the word “pi” (pizza, pineapple, picture, pie, etc.). a. For younger players, help them out by talking and spelling things through and using images for aded support
- Determine which child has the most number of words written down and offer them a prize!
Throw a Pi Day Scavenger Hunt
Conduct a Pi Day scavenger hunt by hiding Pi-themed objects around the house. The objects can also represent the numbers of Pi.
- Assorted circular objects (fruit, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
- Assorted number cards that represent the numbers in Pi
- A pencil and a pad of paper
- Hide a number of circular objects or numbers around your home.
- Come up with a list of the objects kids need to find (provide a few hints just in case!). Here is an example list to get you started: a. Three objects that have circular cross sections: cylinder, cone and sphere b. The first five digits of Pi c. Three items with the word ‘Pi’ in it
- Ask children to hunt for the objects.
- For older children, challenge them to measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects and then divide the circumference by the diameter, to find Pi. After the hunt, reward all participants with a delicious prize, like pizza or pie!