Pi Day Activities for the Classroom
Pi Day is celebrated on the 14th of March and it’s a great chance to do something different in the classroom. Here are 11 ideas to get you started.
1. Approximating Pi
This Approximating pi worksheet explores how Pi can be approximated using polygons. (You’ll need a free tes account to access this resource). Most suitable for Key Stage 4 pupils.
The Calculating Pi article from MathsCareers explains more about how polygons can be used to approximate Pi.
2. Make a Pi Day Sphere
This easy Pi Day craft, Pi Day Sphere, comes with a worksheet and tutorial video. String the spheres together to make some cool Pi Day bunting to decorate your classroom.
3. Pi Skyline Art
This is a simple but effective way to transform the digits of Pi into an abstract piece of art. Find out more in the Pi Day Math Art for Kids: Pi Skyline article, and also comes with a helpful video.
4. Memorise the digits of Pi (competition)
Hold a maths department competition for pupils to memorise the digits of Pi. You can use the catchy song, The Pi Song (Memorize 100 Digits Of π), to help your pupils get started.
5. Buffon’s Needle Problem
This has got to be the most counterintuitive way of estimating Pi – scatter toothpicks on a sheet of paper and Pi should magically appear! This is a phenomenon known as ‘Buffon’s Needle Problem’. The Pi Toss activity can be appreciated by younger students, however the reason that Pi appears is to do with Radians. Your A-Level students will love this Numberphile video which explains the maths: Numberphile Video on Buffon’s Needle Problem
6. Make a Pi Day Character Poster
Pi has a long and interesting history. Pupils could produce a poster featuring a famous person who has used or investigated Pi. For example:
- Emma Haruka Iwao – Japanese computer scientist who in 2019 broke the world record for computing the digits of Pi. (This record has since been broken.)
- Suresh Sharma – Indian world record holder for memorising over 70 000 digits of Pi.
- William Shanks – The human calculator who made a mistake in calculating Pi.
- Johann Lambert – Who proved Pi is irrational.
There are lots more people out there, so set your students some homework for Pi Day
7. Make a Pi Graph
Investigate the relationship between circumference and diameter in this hands-on Pi Graph activity for the classroom. (You will just need some round objects for pupils to measure.)
8. How to draw a Mandala with a pair of compasses
Produce some fantastic art using a pair of compasses. Try this How to draw a mandala with a compass - Easy Geometry video to help you out.
9. Pi Day Graph Art
Make a nice piece of art which uses the digits of Pi with this Make Pi Art activity. Good for practising the accurate construction of a circle and use of a ruler.
10. Paper Circle Art
It is possible to make some highly effective pictures using only paper circles. This activity is most suited to KS3 pupils as some older pupils might find the designs too simplistic. You will get better results if you also allow your pupils to use semi-circles as well as full circles. The Paper Craft Ideas with Circles | Sparrow | Rooster | Elephantv and 10 Easy Paper Crafts for Kids | Paper Circle Crafts | DIY Paper Toys videos can get you started.
11. Jobs that use Pi Poster
Pupils investigate uses of Pi in the real world and then produce a poster to show off their findings. They will find lots of ideas in the 10 Jobs that use Pi article on MathsCareers.
And finally... if you want to introduce your students to the origins of Pi Day, try the What is Pi Day? video which explains how the celebration got started and other interesting facts.
Happy Pi Day!
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