37 Mathtastic Pi Day Activities for the Classroom
March 14 is Pi Day, giving math lovers all around the world a perfect reason to geek out. Good thing there are loads of hands-on activities available to help you celebrate with your students. We’ve gathered 37 of our favorite Pi Day activities that are both infinitely fun and educational to help get you started.
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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 students’ Pi Day chain be?
Learn more: Mostly Poetry
2. Celebrate Pi Day with fractions and a pizza party
Take a field trip to Main Event for their How To Get a Fair Piece of the Pie Play Academy lab, where students learn how percentages and fractions work through pizza and pizza toppings. Not only will they build their math skills, but they’ll get a tasty lunch too! Play Academy is an accredited STEAM curriculum in partnership with Big Thought and STEM.org that combine educational lessons with the games kids love.
Learn more: How To Get a Fair Piece of the Pie /Main Event Play Academy
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. You can finish up by measuring some round treats (chocolate chip cookies, anyone?).
Learn more: 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 10 digits of pi. You’ll need some Tenzi dice and printed versions of this game template.
Learn more: @texasmathteacher
5. Make a DIY spirograph
This activity is a fun way to celebrate circles, circumference, diameter … all the things that lead to pi!
Learn more: Pink Stripey Socks
6. 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.
7. 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!
Buy it: On a Beam of Light at Amazon
8. Play a card game
Looking for easy Pi Day activities? 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.
Learn more: Math Geek Mama
9. Use yarn and other ordinary objects
Discover a hidden number present in every circle with just string and scissors. Try it with an orange, a coffee cup, a roll of tape, a plate … any round object!
Learn more: Exploratorium
10. 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.
Learn more: Pieces by Polly
11. 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
12. Introduce Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
An engaging read-aloud about math? Yes, please! In Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander, the main character 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.
Buy it: Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure
13. Go outside for a supersized pi
Need some outdoor Pi Day activities? This one gives your class a chance to enjoy the fresh air. Choose one student to stand in the middle of a grassy area and have them hold one end of a known length of string. A second student will walk the other end of the string around to form a circle. The remaining students will spread out evenly to form the circle’s circumference.
Use a tape measure (or measuring wheel, if your circle is large enough) to find the diameter, using the center student to help measure through the circle’s center. Finally, measure the circumference and have students calculate for pi.
Learn more: Education World
14. Tell a math joke
OK, 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 silly math puns and jokes too! Can your students come up with more?
Learn more: 40 Math Jokes That’ll Make “Sum” of Your Students LOL
15. Share some pi puns
Might I Interest You in a Piece of Pi? by Miftees has plenty of chuckle-worthy visual pi puns for sharing in person or virtually.
Buy it: Might I Interest You in a Piece of Pi? A Collection of 31 Pi Puns for Pi Day at Amazon
16. Write pi-ku poems
Poems and Pi Day activities go hand-in-hand. 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
Learn more: @reach.then.teach
17. Measure all the circles
Set out a variety of circular objects. You may have to raid your kitchen, classroom, or even the school gym and music room to collect circles of all sizes. Using a string and yardstick, students will measure the length of each circle’s circumference and its diameter and record their work on a chart.
Learn more: Elementary Inquiry
18. Bake some π cookies
Use a pi-shaped cookie cutter to bake these sweets the night before Pi Day, then have students help you decorate them. You can sell them as part of a fundraiser, or snack on them while you do some of the other Pi Day activities on this list.
Learn more: @g3mini562
19. 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!
Learn more: pi10k
20. Create your own pi puzzle
Print this puzzle on card stock and let students color it in first if you choose. Then, cut the pieces apart and see if students can put them back together by remembering the digits of pi in order.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
21. Go dotty!
Create circles with Q-tips and paint for this pointillism art project. Then, have students measure circumference and diameter of as many of their circles as they can to see if their calculations equal pi.
Learn more: The Art Classroom
22. 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.
Learn more: What We Do All Day
23. 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
24. 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.
Learn more: Math Geek Mama
25. 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.
Buy it: Math Geek Pi Day T-Shirt
26. Have a pi word challenge
You don’t need to be a math teacher to celebrate with Pi Day activities. 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!
27. 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.
Learn more: @poughkidsieny
28. Pass out pi pencils
Your class deserves special pencils for completing all these Pi Day activities. You can buy them premade, or check out our easy tutorial on printing on pencils to whip these up yourself.
Buy it: Hexagonal Pi Pencil
29. 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 cutout. How cool would these look hanging in your classroom window or from the ceiling?
Learn more: JDaniel4’s Mom
30. 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.
Learn more: Royal, Baloo, and Logi-Bear Too
31. 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 re-create the amazing Pi Day hats the characters all wear!
Buy it: Happy Pi Day to You! at Amazon
32. Calculate pi with actual mini-pies
You probably can’t replicate this one in your classroom, but your students will get a kick out of watching this guy do it!
Learn more: Numberphile
33. Learn the secret of pi
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.
Learn more: dotTech
34. String a pi bracelet
There are two ways to make a bead bracelet on a pipe cleaner for Pi Day. Using the one shown above as a guide, have kids string three beads of one color, followed by one of another color, then four, and so on. Or assign each number a color and string one bead for each digit.
Learn more: Momgineer
35. Try a NASA activity
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.
Learn more: JPL NASA
36. Bake a pi pie
You knew there had to be some actual pie on this list, right? If you’re going to bake a pie for Pi 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.
Buy it: Pi People Pi Pie Pan at Amazon
37. Cuddle with a pi plush
This isn’t really an activity, but we couldn’t pass up how adorable this pi plush is! Display it in your classroom, or use it as an incentive for one of your contests.
Buy it: Pi Plush Stuffed Toy at Etsy
What are your favorite Pi Day activities for the classroom? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, 15 Fun Pizza Facts Just in Time for Pi Day.
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