31.4 Mathtastic Pi Day Activities for the Classroom
March 14th (3.14) is Pi Day and gives math lovers everywhere a perfect reason to celebrate. Classic traditions include, of course, making or eating a delicious pie or pizza, but there are infinitely fun (and educational!) other ways to honor the day in the classroom, too. Here are 31.4 Pi Day activities that you’ll circle back to year after year.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.)
1. Assemble a Pi Day paper chain
Just like pi, paper chains can be endless in activity time, length, and fun! As a class or grade, create a Pi Day chain with loops of construction paper using a different color for each of the 10 digits. Each colored chain link represents a decimal place or a digit. Schools around the country have gotten in on this Pi Day trend and have even attempted world records. How long will your class or school’s Pi Day chain be?
Source: Mostly Poetry
2. Celebrate with a pizza pi party
Pi means circles, and circles mean pizza, right? It’s never been easier to order with apps like DoorDash and GrubHub. Teach fraction concepts and fundraise for your classroom at the same time with our Awesome Pizza activity! And check out some fun pizza facts here.
3. Do the math
Provide plenty of circular objects like coffee cans, soup cans, pie tins, paper plates, bowls, CDs, and candles. Then have kids measure the diameter and circumference, divide the circumference by the diameter, and watch their amazement as the number comes out to about 3.14 every single time. Then, maybe finish up by measuring some round treats (chocolate chip cookies, anyone?).
Source: Layers of Learning
4. Roll pi digits with dice
Have students gather in groups of two, three, or four and then race to see who can be the first to roll the first ten digits of pi. You’ll need some Tenzi dice and printed versions of this game template from @texasmathteacher.
5. Memorize those pi digits!
Teach your students about the current record holder for reciting the digits of pi. Rajveer Meena recited 70,000 digits in 9 hours, 7 minutes (while blindfolded) on March 21, 2015. Then have them memorize digits using this catchy song about the first 100 digits of pi. Play it in the background while your kids work on other projects, and they’ll know it by heart in no time.
6. Celebrate Albert Einstein
Archimedes may have first calculated pi, but how perfect is it that Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879? Have students research this famous scientist and present facts and artwork to the class. For elementary kiddos, On a Beam of Light, by Jennifer Berne is our favorite picture book biography of Einstein!
7. Play a card game
In this simple card game, kids race to see who can get rid of all their cards as they lay out the digits of pi. You can print out the digits in advance for reference or challenge older students to recall them from memory as they go. Get the full instructions at Math Geek Mama.
8. Make paper plate pies
Little ones may not be ready to understand the concept of pi itself, but they can get in on the fun with this activity that introduces them to circles and ratios. All you need are some paper plates, construction paper, and a few other basic supplies. Kids mix and match the pieces to make a complete “pie,” learning more about circles along the way.
Source: Pieces by Polly
9. Craft paper pie gift boxes
Build these cutie pie paper gift boxes with your class, then fill them with circle-based treats of your choice! There’s plenty of math to be done along the way—students can use the length of one pie piece side (which is the radius of the circle) to calculate the area and circumference of a complete pie. Get a template and complete how-to at the link below.
Learn more: Tally’s Treasury
10. Introduce Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
An engaging read-aloud about math? Yes, please! In Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure, Sir Circumference has been changed into a fire-breathing dragon. His son Radius and Lady Di of Ameter search for clues to the magic number that is the same for all circles in order to change him back! If you love Sir Cumference’s adventures, you’ll be happy to know this book is part of a much larger series.
11. Tell a math joke
Okay, some of these are going to make your students groan, but we bet you’ll get a giggle or two as well. We’ve put together a list of 40 cheesy math jokes, and if you need further inspiration, Grammarly has a list of 18 silly math puns and jokes too! Can your students come up with more?
12. Share some pi puns
Might I Interest You in a Piece of Pi?: A Collection of 31 Pi Puns for Pi Day by Miftees has plenty of chuckle-worthy visual Pi puns for sharing in person or virtually.
13. Write pi-ku poems
Have your students write their own pi-ku poems. Inspired by haiku, these quick poems have a different number of syllables in each line, based on the digits of pi.
First line: 3 syllables
Second line: 1 syllable
Third line: 4 syllables
14. Bake some π cookies
Use a pi-shaped cookie cutter to bake these sweets the night before, then have students help you decorate them. You can sell them as part of a fund-raiser or snack on them while you do some of the other Pi Day activities on this list.
15. Conduct a pi symphony
Turn pi into music! Start by experimenting with pi10k, which turns pi into music as you’ve never heard before. Then, create your own class symphony using pi to structure the composition. Assign each student or group of students a number from one through nine and have them come up with a musical sound associated with their number. Think claps, hums, whistles, knocks, beats on a drum or tambourine, or notes on a kazoo, recorder, triangle, or another available musical instrument. Write the first 20 digits of pi on the board and direct students to make their chosen sound when you point to their number. Zero can be a rest. Repeat the sequence several times until you get the hang of it and have a rhythmic tune to show for your effort!
16. Create your own pi puzzle
Print this puzzle on cardstock and let students color it in first if you choose. Then, cut the pieces apart and see if they can put them back together by remembering the digits of pi in order.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
17. Graph a pi-line skyline
Hand out graph paper and colored markers or crayons and have students graph the digits of pi using a bar graph format. Once their pi-line skyline is created, invite them to color in the “buildings” and sky, complete with pi-in-the-sky constellations.
Source: What We Do All Day
18. Plot out pi-inspired art
Math and art have a lot more in common than your students might think. Show kids these pi-inspired art pieces, then hand out paper and markers and have them create their own. Click the link below for two cool pi-inspired art projects to get you started.
Learn more: Pink Stripey Socks
19. Create punny pi-lentines
Sure, Valentine’s Day was last month, but now it’s time for Pi-lentines instead! Break out your best pi puns to make cards that celebrate Pi Day. Get free printable templates at the link below, or have kids make their own.
Source: Math Geek Mama
20. Dress the part
Every math teacher should consider showing off geeky gear on Pi Day! We love t-shirts that celebrate everyone’s favorite irrational number. Feeling crafty? Cut your a pi shape out of iron-on vinyl using a die-cut machine or by hand, and then make your own perfect pi shirt.
Plus, if you must wear a mask … make it a pi mask!
21. Have a pi word challenge
Instead of a pie-eating contest, hold a pi-writing contest in your classroom. Set a timer to three minutes and challenge your students to write as many words as they can that start with pi. Ready. Set. Go!
22. Plan a Pi Day run
Did you know that a 5k is actually just a bit short of 3.14 miles? That makes it perfect for a Pi Day run! Of course, the winners get some pie.
23. Pass out pi pencils
24. Fashion a pretty “stained glass” pi plate
We love easy crafts with a wow factor, and this one has it for sure! Use tissue paper circles to create the stained glass effect and write the numbers of pi around the cut-out. How cool would these look hanging in your classroom window or from the ceiling?
Learn more: JDaniel4’s Mom
25. Have some fun with a simple pi game
This free printable game is great for introducing the kindergarten set to the numbers of pi, even if the concept is a little over their heads for now. They’ll have fun collecting the pieces of “pi” and laying them out in order to win.
Get the game: Royal, Baloo, and Logi-Bear Too
26. Read Happy Pi Day to You! and make pie plate hats
Happy Pi Day to You! by Bonnie Worth is an engaging and interactive read aloud to get kids thinking about and measuring circles. For extra fun, grab a stack of disposable pie plates to recreate the amazing Pi Day hats the characters all wear!
27. Calculate pi with pies
You probably can’t replicate this one in your classroom, but you’ll get a kick out of watching the Numberphiles do it!
28. Learn the pi secret
This one is especially mind-blowing. 3.14 actually spells PIE when reflected in a mirror! Have your kids write out the equation as shown and then show them in a reflection.
Source: Bored Teachers
29. String a pi bracelet
There are two ways to make a bead bracelet on a pipe cleaner for Pi Day. Using the one shown below as a guide, have kids string 3 beads of one color, followed by 1 of another color, then 4, and so on. Or, assign each number a color and string one bead for each digit.
30. Turn to NASA
The space program uses pi quite a bit in calculations, and NASA has been gracious enough to put together a wealth of activities for teachers on Pi Day. Check out these classroom activities and problem sets for all grades.
Source: JPL NASA
31. Bake a Pi Pie
You knew there had to be some actual pie on this list, right? If you’re going to bake a pi for pie day, why not do it in a pi pie pan! (Try saying that five times fast.) Of course, you could also make brownies or another delicious treat in this pan.
31.4 Cuddle with a plush pi
This isn’t really an activity, but we couldn’t pass up how adorable this plush pi is! Display it in your classroom, or use it as an incentive for one of your contests.
What are your favorite pi day activities for the classroom? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, the best math websites for the classroom.
Brought to you by NFPA Join NFPA® in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW). This year’s FPW…