Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pi Day Ideas 2016

I've tried to do a few things in the past to get students excited about Pi Day (3/14), but it's not been easy to do by myself. It is a LOT of work. Luckily, our new department chair is spreading the wealth this year and asking each member of our department to be in charge of an idea. We met last week to go through a few of the ideas I found on the web. (To get this flyer, email me here because it is not transforming well to an online doc.)

I thought this link from Education World was fantastic and had a lot of great ideas. Mainly, here's the plan:

1. Pi-Dye: Have students bring in old white T-shirts and decorate with pi symbols and as many of the digits of pi as they want to. Then, we tie-dye them like this...I saw this on twitter...where? Please let me know so I can give you credit. We would use this method.

Here is the shirt our student designed. We got 50 T-shirts donated. Can't wait to pi-dye them with the students who signed up via google forms for two afternoons next week!

2. Pi(e) a Teacher: This is a contest we have done for a few years now. The student who memorizes the most digits of pi gets to pie a teacher. Teachers actually volunteer for this :) I recommend having graph paper (listing the digits in each square) where students can write down the digits rather than recite, because if they make a mistake or if you mishear, they will need to do it again...and if they are in a flow and are really competitive...let's just say have them write it down!

3. No-Hands Pie Eating Contest: Volunteer students will do this during each lunch period.

4. Guess the first positive integer no one else has guessed: I feel like I JUST read this on my blog feed and I looked and can't find it. This is harder than it looks! Mu Alpha Theta donated 3 TI-84 calculators and I have been using one to give as a prize each year. We will give that prize in this contest.

5. Pi Bake-off: Perhaps my favorite. Students bake pi-themed desserts. Winners get either $31.41 or $3.14 giftcards to the bookstore.

6. Puzzle Competition: I blogged about this here, too. Click this link for a fun 61-question activity to give to students. We did this one year as an advisory competition.

7. Pi Day Challenge: This online challenge is FANTASTIC!! Go here: It has a series of tough puzzles with no have to use logic to solve them. This is challenging but addicting!! And it is so great to play in class.

In addition, we are hoping that each teacher will have a little activity to do in their classes. I am planning on showing how to approximate pi using the Buffon Needle Activity and the Monte Carlo method for Geometry. We may make a life size "dart board" of some sort for the latter.

How do you plan on celebrating Pi Day in your school?

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