Ladue math teachers celebrate Pi day with special activities

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Ladue math teachers celebrate Pi day with special activities

Mr. Farrell poses in front of his whiteboard after AP Calculus BC

Mr. Farrell poses in front of his whiteboard after AP Calculus BC

Rhea Kaw

Mr. Farrell poses in front of his whiteboard after AP Calculus BC

Rhea Kaw

Rhea Kaw

Mr. Farrell poses in front of his whiteboard after AP Calculus BC

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According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the record for the most memorized Pi digits belongs to Rajveer Meena from Vellore, India. Though there are plenty more, Meena recited 70,000 Pi decimal places from memory. This fact may seem random, but with Pi day coming up, this piece of information looks to be quite relevant.

Pi day is the annual celebration of the mathematical constant Pi, that occurs every year on March 14. Consequently, the first three numbers in Pi are 3.14, which correspond to the date March 14, while it is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and is infinitely long. While some schools may not pay attention to the date, Ladue high school math teachers are taking advantage of Pi day to create a different, yet fun learning experience in class.

“In my class, we will talk about the importance of [Pi] and how it appears in nature,” math teacher Michael Farrell said. “It is a ratio that comes from comparing the circumference to the diameter of every circle, so we look at a brief investigation of where it comes from, how it was discovered and how it is used in mathematics.”

However, Farrell explained that because of certain guidelines, specific celebrations of Pi day have been omitted. Specifically, celebrations involving food have been prohibited. 

“Some of the things we would do was measure different circles and look at how the ratio of Pi pops up in every circle,” Farrell said. “The one thing we don’t do as much anymore is bring in circular foods, like actual pies, cupcakes and cookies because of the nutritional guidelines coming down from the state.”

Another match, teacher, Laura Berns described a similar routine for Pi day in her classes. In her room, she will primarily focus on different games involving Pi. 

“We usually talk about the significance of Pi and what it means in terms of circles,” Berns said. “It’s a kind of mini-lesson, and then we talk about some puzzles having to do with circles. In advanced geometry, we’ll actually be starting our unit on circles right about that time, so it fits well there.”

 Speaking to its importance, Farrell believes Pi day brings awareness to how math is accessible to every student, and Berns elaborated on why integrating Pi day into the classroom was valuable for students.

“[Pi day] makes math a little more fun and a little more interesting for students as far as when they understand where something comes from, what the significance is and also how it fits into their regular everyday life,” Berns said.

While math teachers at Ladue High do their best to include Pi day in the classroom, they also believe that students themselves should also have fun with the day on their own.

“Pi is something that pretty much all students understand and use at some point in their life,” Berns said. “I think it’s fun to draw attention to [Pi day] and celebrate math.”