Pi Day Lessons & Activities

pi day
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Pi Day was first formally celebrated in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, when staff physicist Larry Shaw organized events around March 14, or 3/14, aka 3.14, which are the first three digits of pi (π), the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives recognized it as an annual event, and since then, much like pi itself, has become a source of infinite joy.

These Pi Day lessons and activities are perfect for teaching your students about trigonometry, geometry, physics, cosmology, statistics, thermodynamics, and much more as pi appears in numerous formulae. So help yourself to a slice of pi here and enjoy!

Pi Day Lessons & Activities

Celebrate Pi Day with NCTM
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers activities from its publications, divided by elementary, middle, and high school grades, ranging from “Tree Talk” (students measure the circumference of local trees to determine the age) to “Kissing Pennies and Eating Pi” (a classroom inquiry that explores various expressions of pi).

Mensa for Kids: Pi Day Fun!
Featuring three lessons and 14 activities, such as making paper chains, trivia, greeting cards, and even Pi Day cupcakes that feature a secret Mensa frosting!

A Brief History of Pi (π)
Which has been around longer -- pie or pi? The answer may surprise you. Learn how ancient mathematicians deduced the concept and approximate value of pi in this article from San Francisco's Exploratorium museum.   

14 Fun 2024 Pi Day Activities for High School Students
A lighthearted—yet academically challenging—collection of pi-related activities that incorporates music, language, poetry, art, statistics, history, American date abbreviations and more. For full appreciation of activity No. 3, “Throw a Pi-Themed Party,” students should watch Why is the area of a circle equal to π r² ? 2000 year old proof, but with pizza

The Discovery That Transformed Pi
Before Isaac Newton transformed mathematics, the calculation of pi was laborious and slow. This entertaining, yet in-depth, video explains the principles underlying Newton’s elegant proof. And yes, there will be pizza. 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pi Challenges
Care for a bit of pi-in-the-sky thinking? Explore illustrated lessons that take pi out of Earth’s orbit in service of solving solar systems problems, such as the density of the asteroid Psyche and frost in lunar craters. A “stellar” collection. 

Learn About Pi
A dynamic, illustrated explanation of pi that grabs the reader’s attention with its colorful, lively graphics which clearly demonstrate the properties of pi and how it can be used in calculating volumes of many two- and three-dimensional shapes. This webpage from PiDay.org would provide an excellent, clarifying accompaniment to the pi-related lessons included in this article.  

Teach Pi
A plethora of pi activities, stories, music, lessons and trivia, TeachPi.org was founded by math educator and speaker Luke Anderson, whose enthusiasm for pi and numeracy cannot be contained.  Be sure to check out Anderson’s alter ego, Pi Daddy, and his rap song, “Lose Yourself (In The Digits).” A super fun site to peruse. 

PBS LearningMedia Pi-Related Resources
An abundance of K-12 pi-related lessons and interactives that includes calculating pi with darts, the square-wheeled tricycle, music from the Golden Ratio, and more fascinating topics. Lessons and activities are standards-aligned, shareable to Google Classroom, and include plenty of support material for teachers. And, yes, there will be pie. And pizza. 

Ray Bendici is the Managing Editor of Tech & Learning and Tech & Learning University. He is an award-winning journalist/editor, with more than 20 years of experience, including a specific focus on education.