Happy pi day, or 22/3/14! On this day, people celebrate the irrational and infinitely long number by eating pies and solving equations. So to get in the spirit, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite pi day activities.
There are some great ideas for how to incorporate mathematics into your daily routine, like measuring how many times you blink in a day or calculating how much time it takes for math to become an integral part of your life. But there are also some other great ideas for fun pi day activities that have nothing to do with math, like trying to get a hula hoop around your waist or measuring the circumference of your head.
So whether you’re actually celebrating pi day for math or if you’re just looking for something fun to do this Saturday, here are some great activities to try!
Top 25 Pi Day Activities
1. Assemble a Pi Day Paper Chain
Cut a paper into 1 inch wide strips and tape them together. Start with a loop of paper and use scissors to make a small slit in the center, then add more loops. Tie each end together securely with a piece of ribbon or string. Assembling a pi day paper chain is one of the games you can play.
2. Celebrate with a Pizza Pi Party
A fun way to celebrate Pi Day is to host a pizza pi party. Ovens are unnecessary for this celebration, so get a slab of pizza and cut out three circles using the diameter of the pie as your guide. Staple each circle to the wall in your kitchen, leaving one free so that you can walk around.
3. Do the Math
The math of pi is actually a lot easier the more you do it. Try the following for an easy way to keep track of pi. Write it on a post-it or index card and stick it to your fridge, write it on your calendar, or use a chalkboard in your kitchen.
4. Roll Pi Digits with Dice
Roll a standard six sided die. Then, divide the number by two and add that number to pi. (If you are rolling one, then you have dropped the first digit of pi.) For example, if you roll a 3 on your d6, then divide 3 by 2 and add 1 to get 1.59. Write down the digit 3 and subtract your starting number (3) to get 1.571428…
5. Memorize Those Pi Digits
A great way to celebrate pi day is by memorizing the first 50 digits of pi. While it might seem like an impossible task, this computation was accomplished by a 9 year-old, who then won $100,000 on Jeopardy!
6. Celebrate Albert Einstein
In 1853, German mathematician Johann Lambert calculated pi to 35 places by hand. On March 14, 2012, a Google Doodle celebrated this accomplishment. Why this day? It was Albert Einstein’s 139th birthday!
7. Play Pi in a Circle
Play pi in a circle by placing digits of pi around the outside edge of a circle. Read each digit clockwise starting at three o’clock, and use the center point as zero (or as an optional starting point if you are having trouble with your memory).
8. Play a Card Game
Pi is the same in all parts of the world, so it makes sense that the card game Pi mal Daube is fun no matter where you are! This game requires a 52-card deck and a single joker. Deal nine cards to each player, and then have each player draw one card to create three piles. The first pile is four cards (3-6), the second pile is five cards (7-10), and the third pile has six cards (jack, queen, king, ace).
9. Make Paper Plate Pies
Put a pizza on a paper plate, add tomatoes and olives, and then have fun making random circles with the remainder of your ingredients. Also, use extra dough to make a circle around each pie. If you need more time to finish your pizza while watching the game, just let it sit at room temperature until you are ready to eat it.
10. Craft Paper Pie Gift Boxes
Using origami, paper plates, and pizza dough, you can make a gift box that celebrates Pi Day. You can also put candy inside your box or use the box to hold things like tiny note cards, or even coins.
11. Introduce Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi is a great book for families that like to read math-related stories and for younger students who are studying math. Sir Cumference is a character from the amusing children’s book called The Breadth of the Briny Ball, by Cindy Neuschwander. In this lovely and humorous book, readers learn about pi in a way that is fun and clear.
12. Tell a Math Joke
Math jokes aren’t as bad as they sound, okay? You can even get your kids involved by asking them to crack pi puns. If no one laughs at your pun, then try again later. If you want to tell a math joke, use the following joke, which is a variation of the well-known “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” joke.
13. Share some Pi Puns
As with all jokes, there is a fine line between funny and awful. But, if you want to share some pi puns on Pi Day, then feel free to do so. Just don’t assume that everyone will get your pun or even understand it!
14. Draw a Pi Map
If you can grab a few friends and the right paper and pencils, you can easily draw a pi map of your own locale. Fill in the top of the map with numbers from 1 to 30. The mathematicians who originally calculated pi assumed that pi was an irrational number, meaning that it had no exact value. However, by using a compass and paper, you can make a map of your locale where the highest integer is 8.
15. Write Pi – Ku Poems
Pi (π) is a symbol for a circle on the keyboard. It is also the symbol for poetry in Japan, where it is called ‘ku’ or ‘kupo’. Pi poems are usually about numbers or letters, but you can use them to celebrate Pi Day as well. You can make your poems fun by using animals or objects with pi names and symbols.
16. Bake some Pie
Pi is an irrational number, it has infinite digits and can never be written completely. However, you can still celebrate Pi Day by eating pie on March 14. You might also be interested in other irrational numbers like √2 (1.414213…).
17. Conduct a Pi Symphony
If you want to conduct a pi symphony, then make sure that your conductor’s baton is 30 cm in length. A pi symphony can be conducted by using a computer, or even by playing a piano and observing the length of the strings.
18. Create Your Own Pi Puzzle
Lastly, no Pi Day celebration is complete without a pi puzzle! You can make Pi Day a little more fun by making your own puzzle using a 5×7 photo or printout of pi. This can be done by folding the page, then cutting the paper and opening it. You can also write pi on the inside with a marker so that you’ll be able to see it in the completed puzzle.
19. Graph a Pi – Line Skyline
On March 14, the first of the month, the sun rises directly over the point in space that is closest to the north point of a standard (right angle) ruler. Therefore, this day is also a great time to graph a pi-line skyline. Watch as your points line up along your series of points marking this event!
20. Plot out Pi – Inspired Art
While we have mentioned pi a few times in this article, it’s also worth pointing out that pi-inspired art is hot right now. You can make your own art by using materials like ink and paint or even by just drawing with a compass.
21. Create Punny Pi – Lentines
While you’re at it, why not also make punny pi-lentines? You can also make them into cupid cards, silly limericks, and other amusing ways. Also, there are a lot of cards and books that you can use to celebrate this holiday.
22. Dress the Part
It is also a great idea to dress the part for Pi Day. You can wear anything from a t-shirt that says π, to a pi symbol necklace or other jewelry, or even a pink shirt to the party! You can even make your own pins or clothing if you want to get fancy.
23. Have a Pi Word Challenge
For those who are math-obsessed, you can also have a pi word challenge. All you need is a copy of a time and date sheet and some paper that has pi on it. The challenge is to read through the sheet and find as many words that have π in them as possible.
24. Play Pi Bingo
Bingo is a classic game that can be played in a number of ways, from creating a bingo sheet or using numbers to simply playing by calling out the numbers in order. With Pi Day, you can also create a bingo sheet with things and items that have pi in their names. Be sure to track your bingo card carefully so you can win!
25. Plan a Pi Day Run
With Pi Day on 3/14, you can celebrate by planning a run. You can then collect donations for your local animal shelter, or even plan a fun run to help raise awareness for a charity of your choosing.