3.1415 Madness

Teachers and their Pi Day festivities


Valeria Boltneva

Pi day means pie day!

Vivian Hua, Copy Editor

Every year on March 14th, there’s a secret holiday dedicated to the baked fruit pastry goodness that society calls a pie. Many have only heard of Pi Day because of math-obsessed teachers, but how much of a “nerd” are these number fanatics actually?

Mr. Taylor, physics teacher, dedicates his whole entire day on March 14th to all things 3.14 related.

“When I wake up in the morning, first of all, I make a pie for breakfast— a fruit pie. Then, as I’m eating it (and I just eat the whole pie from beginning to end), I try to memorize pi to as many decimal places as I can. I’m up to 132, and every year I try to add a few more places of pi. Then, I also have pie for lunch and pizza for dinner. Sometimes I’ll decorate it, like line up all the pepperonis, so it goes three and then a pepperoni for the decimal point and then one. I’ll try to do that around, starting from the perimeter and working my way inside with the digits of pi. The pizza pie for dinner is cool because the pizza pie has a radius of one meter. That way its area, which is πr2, has r as one so when you square it, it’s still one. It’s a pie that has an area of pi; it’s like a pi pie.”

Ms. Sedalnick, math teacher, has another approach to this holiday, helping to make her classes something to look forward to.

“I ask all the students to bring in something that’s round, because pi comes from the circumference divided by the diameter. I think that asking for actual pies is kinda expensive, so I tell students to bring something food-wise that’s round. Then we enjoy the festivities. You can find your birthday sequence somewhere in the digits of pi since pi continues onto infinity. It’s called mypiday.com. I ask them to memorize the digits of pi and we have little memorization contests. I have fun pi day facts that I share with them. They can write a poem in pi, like the first word has to be three letters long, the second word has to be one letter, the third word has to be four letters, and they have to write a poem that has to do with pi. I have a whole bunch of things; it depends on the year and how I feel.”

Either way, both admirers of the circle related symbol have these traditions as a way of showing how math doesn’t have to just about calculations, but it can be a creative process too.

“[My family] has contests to see how who can remember pi to the largest digit. I used to be the winner, but when my kids turned 12 they started beating me. My oldest boy is over 1,000 digits,” Taylor recalls with a warm smile.

The fun this day brings is evident when students come to school with their best pi related creations.

“I did have a student one time who actually made 3.14 out of dough and baked it and brought it in. Students are really creative, and they’ve come with some interesting things. Last year I had a girl who made cupcakes and on the top she had carved out pi in each cupcake. It was really cool. Last year I also had a girl who had made pi out of puff pastry. That was amazing,” Sedalnick describes.

Math is only hated when it’s taken too seriously. These teachers like to see the fun it brings and make students realize that not everything has to be so grave and somber.

As Sedalnick said, “[Pi Day] is just the awareness that math can be interesting if you make it interesting. Hopefully people have fun with it.”