Greeting CardsCostumesGift IdeasParty PlanningHolidays

25 Best Ways to Celebrate National Pi Day

Updated on January 16, 2017
GAES STEM profile image

At the Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies we think that math is beautiful, essential, practical and fun.

Pi: It's Irrational, Transcendental, and May or May Not Be Normal

Pi Day is March 14.  It's also Albert Einstein's birthday.  What a cosmic coincidence!  Let us help you celebrate the day in style.  We'll give you 25 ideas to start you off!
Pi Day is March 14. It's also Albert Einstein's birthday. What a cosmic coincidence! Let us help you celebrate the day in style. We'll give you 25 ideas to start you off! | Source

Celebrate the Math Constant Whose Fun Never Ends

Calling all mathletes, engineers, scientists, and STEM teachers! Calling all math students and statisticians! (Yes, YOU!) Put down those calculators and tech gadgets and get ready to celebrate.

Here's To An Unending Love of 3.14159

In its decimal form, pi never ends or repeats.
In its decimal form, pi never ends or repeats. | Source

Did You Know?

The first Pi Day was held in 1988 in San Francisco as a way to draw greater attention to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Held on March 14 (3.14 — get it?), this special math holiday corresponds with Albert Einstein's birthday.

Whether you're a math nerd or a wannabe, March 14 is our day. It's the time when those of us who dance in the transcendent, resplendent beauty of numbers unite to celebrate our irrational love of pi.

Yes, pi (π) — that funny looking Greek letter that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. No matter how large or small a circle is, you can divide the distance around it by the distance across and get the same cool number. Mindbending, huh? (Let's take a moment.)

Abbreviated as 22/7 or 3.14, pi is a practical, universally applicable, and never ending constant. Today, we use it in a variety of fields to determine area, surface area and volume for objects that are

  • circular
  • cylindrical
  • cone-shaped or
  • pyramid.

Examples of disciplines that use it include astronomy, architecture, engineering, navigation, and construction.

To help get your Pi Day celebration off the ground, here are 25 ideas for honoring our favorite constant. Have a STEM-tastic celebration!

Come To the Nerd Side: We Have Pi(e)

"Creativity is essential to particle physics, cosmology, and to mathematics, and to other fields of science, just as it is to its more widely acknowledged beneficiaries - the arts and humanities." Lisa Randall, American theoretical physicist
"Creativity is essential to particle physics, cosmology, and to mathematics, and to other fields of science, just as it is to its more widely acknowledged beneficiaries - the arts and humanities." Lisa Randall, American theoretical physicist | Source

History of This Mindbending, Useful Constant

Ideas for Celebrating: Let the Fun Begin

1. Write a Pi-Ku or Other Pi-Theme Poetry

Write a "pi-ku," a math version of the traditional haiku. While the haiku is a Japanese poem with 17 syllables, broken out in lines of 5-7-5 syllables, the "pi-ku" is even more abbreviated. It follows a 3-1-4 syllabic pattern and enjoys a math-related theme. Here are some original samples to inspire you:

Pi transcends
pure
rational thought.

Beautiful
Math,
Your problems tease!

Elegant
Math ...
Universal.

A Seeing Pi (π) Chart

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle.  Represented by 22/7, in decimal form it never ends (it's irrational).
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle. Represented by 22/7, in decimal form it never ends (it's irrational). | Source

2. Pi(e) Naming Contest

Challenge your friends to a pi/e naming contest. Depending on the type of friends you have (mathletes or mere wannabes), see who can name the most types of pie or the most digits of pi. Award a pie or pi-themed prize to the champion.

Let Pi (or Pie) Inspire You

Now we're talking!
Now we're talking! | Source

3. Eat Round or Pi-Inspired Foods

Why not combine two of your favorite activities—math and eating? There is no shortage of round-shaped foods. Consider round fruits (e.g., oranges, melon balls, bananas sliced in "coins"), round crackers, meatballs, round cookies, cupcakes, etc. To take the math theme one step further, consider the following pi-inspired foods. Some of them are a bit of a stretch, but hey, it's all it good fun!

Suggestions For Pi-Themed Foods

 
 
pi-neapple
pie-rogies
pi-ancakes
pi-ita
pi-ickles
pi-anini sandwiches
pi-tatoes
pi-tato chips
pi-into beans
pi-retzels
pi-mento cheese sandwiches
pi-stachio nuts
Okay, so some of them are a stretch. Just go with it! It's all in good fun!

Pi Shaped Cookie Cutter

CopperGifts: Pi Cookie Cutter 3.75 inch
CopperGifts: Pi Cookie Cutter 3.75 inch

There's nothing more fun than pi-shaped cookies to celebrate the day! Roll out some sugar cookies in honor of your favorite math constant.

 

Woo-Hoo! Let the Fun Begin!

These trombone players are dressed as Albert Einstein, who shares a birthday with National Pi day, March 14.  Dress as the famous mathematician to honor them both.
These trombone players are dressed as Albert Einstein, who shares a birthday with National Pi day, March 14. Dress as the famous mathematician to honor them both. | Source

4. Play Pi Games.

This will take some planning, but the fun will pay out in dividends. Think of the Instagram photos and the memories you'll take away from the event!

  • Organize a pie-thowing or pie-in the face contest, with proceeds going to charity. Set a fundraising goal of $314, or more!
  • Hold a pie speed eating contest, giving contestants 3.14 minutes, all the pie they can eat, with no hands allowed.
  • Have "pi-ggyback" races, with two contestants holding a teammate horizontally (more or less forming a π) and racing other teams of three across a finish line.
  • Learn to play the card game "pi-nochle" or beat a pi-ñata.
  • Challenge yourself to name the digits of pi with an on-line game, such as the one here. Or, name words that begin with "pi," some as those in the on-line game here.

5. Hold a Pi Memorization/Recitation Contest

Pi is never ending and has been calculated to trillions of digits. But don't let that stop you from holding a contest to see who among your nerd friends can correctly recite the most digits. To assist in your training, Google even has a training app. Come on! You've got this!

Happy Birthday, Einstein!

Albert Einstein's birthday is on March 14, the same day as Pi Day. Coincidence? No way!
Albert Einstein's birthday is on March 14, the same day as Pi Day. Coincidence? No way! | Source

6. Celebrate the Birthday of Albert Einstein

Since March 14 is also Albert Einstein's birthday, give a nod to the Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist and philosopher of science by holding an Einstein look-alike contest and sharing Einstein quotes. There are so many myths about the genius that his birthday would be a fitting day to set the record straight.

7. Impress Your Friends with Pi or Math-Themed Trivia

Dazzle and amaze your friends as well as mere strangers with your knowledge of how pi is useful in geometry, engineering, trigonometry, astronomy, physics, and other endeavors. Point out practical problems that pi helps us solve. Remind them what 22/7 is and why it's important. Spread the enthusiasm!

8. Sponsor a Math Version of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" or "Jeopardy."

In a back-to-basics challenge that features quick thinking, you might be surprised how easily math formulas, definitions, and basic concepts have gotten rusty.

9. Watch a Math-Inspired Movie

There are so many math-related movies to choose from. In the following films, for example, consider the role that math has had in history and in human relationships. Did math ultimately help unite people or separate them? Did it create new opportunities or barriers? (And if so, what kind?) Is it a more a gift or a practiced skill? Go ahead—talk about the impact of math in our lives.

Movies With A Math Theme

 
 
The Theory Of Everything (2014)
The Imitation Game (2014)
An Invisible Sign (2010)
21 (2008)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Pi (1998)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Moneyball (2011)
A Brilliant Young Mind (2014)

What Goes Around, Comes Around and Around and Around

Some people love math so much they name their pets after math, like this cat, named "Pi."
Some people love math so much they name their pets after math, like this cat, named "Pi." | Source

10. Walk, Run, Jog, or Cycle 3.14 Miles

All that calculating can leave you antsy. Grab some friends and get moving! Hold a fundraising event involving 3.14 miles (or km if you wish) and donate the money to charity.

Math Rocks

"The study of mathematics, like the Nile, begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence."  - Charles Caleb Colton, English cleric and writer
"The study of mathematics, like the Nile, begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence." - Charles Caleb Colton, English cleric and writer | Source

11. Hold a Pi Scavenger Hunt

For each digit of pi, divide your participants into groups and have them take photos of their found objects rather than bringing back actual items. Set a time limit and specify where they're allowed to roam, then disclose your pi scavenger hunt objects.

For the following digits of pi (3.1415926 ), here's an example of objects you might hunt for in a school environment:

  • 3 scientific calculators
  • 1 high heeled shoe
  • 4 vegetables
  • 1 handshake with a teacher
  • 5 university jerseys, each a different school
  • 9 pennies, stacked
  • 2 pipettes
  • 6 mechanical pencils.

12. Send a Pi Day Card or Send an E-Card

Spread your infinite love of math with a card you make yourself or with an e-card, available here.

Deep Down Inside, Don't We All Love Math?

Deep down inside, we all kinda love math -- some of us more than others.
Deep down inside, we all kinda love math -- some of us more than others. | Source

13. Take a Deeper Look at Pi

Write out as many digits of pi as possible and see if you can find you and your friends can find your birth dates, phone numbers, zip codes, social security numbers, and other personally identifying numbers.

14. Estimate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs

Estimate pi using Buffon's needle, a problem of geometric probability. For an explanation of what it is, click here. Whether you drop needles or toothpicks on a sheet of paper or throw frozen hot dogs on the floor is up to you.

15. Tell Pi Puns and Math Jokes

Who says math isn't funny? Relax a little and tell a few math jokes. Here are some to help get you started.

15 Pi Puns and Math Jokes To Tell Your Friends

Question
Punchline
What do you get when you take the sun and divide its circumference by its diameter?
Pi in the sky
What was Sir Isaac Newton's favorite dessert?
Apple pi!
What does a mathematician do about constipation?
He works it out with a pencil.
Why is the math book always unhappy?
Because it always has lots of problems
Why did I divide sin by tan?
Just cos
Why is Ms. Radian such a good reporter?
She covers the story from every angle
What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
Pumpkin pi
Why wasn't the geometry teacher at school?
Because she sprained her angle!
Where do math teachers go on vacation?
To Times Square
Why couldn’t the angle get a loan?
His parents wouldn’t cosine.
Why did the 30-60-90 triangle marry the 45-45-90 triangle?
They were right for each other.
What is polite and works for the phone company?
A deferential operator
What did the complementary angle say to the isosceles triangle?
"Nice legs"
What do you call a number that can't keep still?
A roamin' numeral
What do you call friends who love math?
Algebros
Amaze your friends or your math class with these.

16. Entertain Your Friends by Using as Many "Pi" Words as Possible Today.

Examples include: pi-lot, pi-zzazz, pi-ous, pi-rate, pi-neapple, pi-lates, etc. Be sure to emphasize the "pi" syllable and keep it up, even it you receive eye rolls. It's one day a year, folks. Your friends can tolerate the math madness for 24 hours.

Rationality Is Overrated

How many digits do you have memorized?
How many digits do you have memorized? | Source

17. Wear Math-Themed Apparel

There are a number of clever math t-shirts available, as well as pi earrings. Don't be afraid to proclaim yourself a math nerd.

After all, you're in cool company. Think Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steven Hawking, Sergey Brin (Google's co-founder), Marie Curie and many more. All were math majors in college.

18. Create Your Own Pi Art, or Admire That of Others

Take a camera and explore the world around you. Where can you find the symbol pi? How can you express yourself creatively, artistically in representing the Greek letter or the digits of pi? (Examples of what others have achieved are shown below.) Or, if you prefer, admire the art of Salvador Dali, a famous artist who used the principles of pi and phi in his art.

Surrounded By the Love of 3.14

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Can you find pi in your environment?  At school, home, in nature?Pi, is that you in that handrail?Metal pi sculpture in Seattle.  Sculptor:  Micajah Bienvenu The pi power poles on the campus of Fermilab, America's premier particle physics laboratory.
Can you find pi in your environment?  At school, home, in nature?
Can you find pi in your environment? At school, home, in nature? | Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Pi, is that you in that handrail?
Pi, is that you in that handrail? | Source
Metal pi sculpture in Seattle.  Sculptor:  Micajah Bienvenu
Metal pi sculpture in Seattle. Sculptor: Micajah Bienvenu | Source
Source
The pi power poles on the campus of Fermilab, America's premier particle physics laboratory.
The pi power poles on the campus of Fermilab, America's premier particle physics laboratory. | Source

19. Offer People Pi Trivia and Einstein Quotes Attached to Round Candy

Friends and strangers will be especially eager to welcome your math trivia and Einstein quotes if they accompany round candy. Consider some of the following:

Round and Sphere-Shaped Candy

 
 
 
Peppermint Patties
starlight mints
butterscotch discs
Whoppers (malted milk balls)
M&Ms
balls of bubblegum
Reese's pieces
Sixlets
Gobstoppers/Jawbreakers
chocolate truffles
lollipops
Smarties

Don't Hide Your Love Of Math

Be enthusiastic. Show your love of math. This driver broadcasts his or her love of math on a license plate.
Be enthusiastic. Show your love of math. This driver broadcasts his or her love of math on a license plate. | Source

20. Promote Pi or Math-Related Books

Advocate learning about math by sharing a pi-themed story with a youngster you know. Popular selections include:

  • Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander
  • Why Pi? by Johnny Ball
  • Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number by Alfred S. Posamentier
  • The Joy of Pi by David Blatner

21. Examine the Mindbending Significance of Pi in Nature

Pi can be found, for example, hiding in the double helix of DNA, the rainbow, and the pupils of our eye. Do some research to uncover pi's impact in the natural world, then share what you've learned with a friend.

22. via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, G+ or Other Social Media, Share a Personal List of the Top 3.14 Reasons Why You Love Math

Although STEM fields are gaining traction as viable career choices, we have to break through the nonsense that science, technology, engineering and math are boring and uncreative fields. Share your passion for what you do. Inspire others to ask questions and follow in your footsteps.

23. Learn "The Pi Song"

Get A Temporary Pi Tattoo

Pi Symbol Tattoo Classroom Pack
Pi Symbol Tattoo Classroom Pack

You'll be super popular on Pi Day with this doozy -- the envy of your math class, all your friends, and strangers alike. Better yet, share them!

 

24. Impress Your Friends with a Pi Temporary Tattoo

You'll be the envy of your math class with a temporary tattoo of the Greek letter. Where you put it is up to you. (Hint: not the forehead. That would be just ... weird.)

25. Generate Your Own Math-Themed Word Search or Crossword Puzzle

Create your own math-themed puzzle here. Challenge friends with common terminology from geometry, trigonometry, physics, and related fields that use pi. Include famous scientists and mathematicians, architectural wonders based on pi, engineering uses of pi, and more.

Got Some Other Pi Day Ideas? Bring 'Em On

Although this list should certainly keep us all busy for awhile, we'd love to hear your ideas. If you have a unique way that you celebrate National Pi Day/Albert Einstein's birthday, please share it with us in the Comments Section below.

What's In A Name? Locations With Math-Related Names

show route and directions
A markerCalculator, Japan -
Calculator, Japan
get directions

B markerCosine, France -
Cosine, France
get directions

C markerCurve, Tennessee -
Curve, TN, USA
get directions

D markerDegree, Pakistan -
Degree, Pakistan
get directions

E markerRadial, Uruguay -
Radial, Uruguay
get directions

F markerRatio, Arkansas -
Ratio, AR, USA
get directions

G markerSegment, Jamaica -
Segment, Jamaica
get directions

H markerSine, Senegal -
Sine, Senegal
get directions

I markerTangent, Oregon -
Tangent, OR, USA
get directions

J markerTriangle, Virginia -
Triangle, VA, USA
get directions

Math, glorious math!
Math, glorious math! | Source

Quotes About Math

  • "Mathematics is the music of reason." - James Joseph Sylvester, English mathematician
  • "Without mathematics, there's nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers." - Shakuntala Devi, Indian writer and "mental calculator"
  • "Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas." - Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist and philosopher of science
  • "Mathematics allows for no hypocrisy and no vagueness." - Stendhal, French writer
  • "Mathematics is the sister, as well as the servant, of the arts and is touched by the same madness and genius." - Marston Morse, American mathematician
  • "Poetry is a form of mathematics, a highly rigorous relationship with words." - Tahar Ben Jelloun, Moroccan writer
  • “The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.” - Stan Gudder, American mathemetician
  • “The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful.” - Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher
  • “The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics.” - Plato, ancient Greek philosopher
  • “Yes, we have to divide up our time ... between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.” - Albert Einstein, Nobel prize winning theoretical physicist

Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!

Einstein was born in Germany on Mar 14, 1879 and died on April 18, 1955.
Einstein was born in Germany on Mar 14, 1879 and died on April 18, 1955. | Source

Have a STEM-tastic Pi-Day! Celebrate it with style!

Alternative Pi Days and Pi Approximation Days

 
 
March 4: When 14% of the 3rd month has elapsed.
July 22: When 22 is divided by 7, it equals 3.14.
April 5: When 3.14 months of the year have elapsed.
November 10: The 314th day of the year (November 9 in leap years).
April 26: The Earth has traveled two radians of its orbit on this day (April 25 in leap years).
December 21, 1:13 p.m.: The 355th day of the year (December 20 in leap years),

© 2015 Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • GAES STEM profile image
      Author

      Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies 18 months ago from Chesterfield, Virginia

      Craan - Sounds perfect to me! No need to do pi-lates after that! Have a great day! Thanks for reading.

    • Craan profile image

      Sheila Craan 18 months ago from Florida

      I'll celebrate PI Day with a delicious piece of pineapple and pistachios.

    • GAES STEM profile image
      Author

      Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies 2 years ago from Chesterfield, Virginia

      They do look good, don't they?

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i want the pi pies, so tempting