Happy Pi Day! By the time March comes around each year, there's always room to honor the number \(\pi\) in the math classroom. Consider taking a break from the traditional lesson plan and incorporating some fun into your curriculum on or around March 14.
But it doesn't just have to be in March! The number \(\pi\) has a long and rich history that can tie into lessons all year round. By high school, students have likely encountered plenty of \(\pi\) already and may even be equipped to learn about some of the history of the number. If you're interested, be sure to check out our article Global Calculations: A History of Pi.
Pi Day Projects for High School
We know that when it comes to celebrating Pi Day, your options are endless. (Much like \(\pi\)'s decimal expansion!) So, we compiled some of our favorite Pi Day activities for high school students below to help you celebrate the joy of \(\pi\).
1. Outdoor Circle Activity
Take some pi outside! Pi represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to diameter, and it doesn't matter how small or large the circle is. Pi Day can be an excellent excuse to get your students outdoors. Have them look for a large circle, such as a circular neighborhood, pedestrian circle, or circular building. If none exists nearby, you can have students design one theoretically—for example, by mapping out a large circle that encompasses the entire school. Now, have students calculate the circumference and diameter using any unit of measurement, including nonstandard units such as their feet or stride lengths. How accurate were their measurements? How close did their ratio get to \(\pi\)? How could they make it closer?
2. Creating Songs About Pi
Divide your students into groups for this activity. Have them take a well-known song and rewrite the lyrics to focus on pi—what it is, why it matters, how it's used, and so on. For more advanced classes, consider having students sing about pi's uses in trigonometry, probability, physics, or calculus. This is a great opportunity for students to work together and get their creative juices flowing! They can even present (and yes, sing) their final song to their classmates.
3. Throw a Pi-Themed Party!
Pi-themed hats. Pi-themed decorations. Maybe even some sort of pie (pizza, perhaps?). All of these can be used to help you celebrate Pi Day in the classroom. If you take this route to honoring Pi Day, we encourage you to also incorporate one of the other activities on this list to give your celebration some pizzazz.
Want to take it a step further? Have your students measure the radius and diameter of different food items at the party and compare the circumferences and areas, as is done using pizza in the video below.
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