Pi Day Activities for Middle School Math
March 14, also known as Pi Day because the date in numerical format is the first digits of pi. There are so many fun Pi Day activities for middle school that you can do. Celebrating this not-so-traditional holiday is a great way to help students learn more about pi in a fun and engaging way.
Do you have exciting plans for Pi Day activities in your math class? Maybe you have some tried and true favorites, or maybe you’re looking for some new Pi Day activities for middle school. Whether you teach 5th or 6th grade math, elementary math or higher levels of math, Pi Day is a day that can be celebrated and used to explore the concept of Pi.
Pi Day and Donuts
Have you tried using donuts to have students discover the Pi relationship between the diameter and the circumference? Or maybe cookies?
I tried it with donuts recently…..can be a little messy (especially if the donuts have icing), but fun!In my pictures, you’ll notice I had some donuts with icing and sprinkles….I’d suggest NOT using those if you want to minimize mess:-)
Materials for this Pi Day activity:
2) Licorice ‘strings’ for measuring (if you have tape measures that would be best, but I never had those in my classroom, so I went with the string idea)
Steps for Discovering Pi Using Donuts
1) Measure the circumference of the donut using a string of licorice. Regular string will work just as well….maybe better, depending on the size of the donuts. I had to use 2 pieces of licorice on my donut, which could result in less accuracy. Once students mark the circumference on the string or the licorice, they measure that length.2) Measure the diameter of the donut in the same way.
3) Divide the circumference by the diameter.
Discussing the Results
Chances are that students won’t get exactly 3.14 when they divide their circumference by the diameter. But they should get close if they’ve measured carefully (and if the donuts are close to being perfect circles). Take some time to compare students’ results and help them analyze the data by discussing questions like:
1. How close are students’ results to each other?
Have students list the results on the board as they complete the calculations, so they can see all results. Perhaps find the average of all results.
2. How close are the calculations to Pi?
3. What could cause students’ calculations to be less accurate than others’?
Were their donuts perfect circles? How carefully did they measure the circumference and diameter of the donut? How carefully did they move the string to the ruler?
Once the discussion is done, students can enjoy the donut treat!
More Pi Day Activities for Middle School
There are some awesome ideas on other blogs, so I thought I’d link a few for you here.
Resources to learn about and practice with circle concepts: