It’s all circular on Pi Day

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Pi Day is held on March 14 because the date represents the first three digits of pi, 3.14.

For years, brainiacs have been stringing out to nearly infinite lengths the value of pi.

A Google employee in Japan, Emma Haruka Iwao, used Google’s cloud computing service to set a new record of 31 trillion digits.

That’s 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286... plus trillions of additional digits.

That is a pi in the sky number.

Renita Petway, who teaches math for Wilson Christian Academy, said Thursday that kids sometimes have a hard time understanding pi, which is a constant and the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

“They don’t understand pi because it is a number that is irrational,” Petway said. “It just doesn’t mean anything to them if they don’t see where it comes from, so we show them where it comes from through working with circles.”

The school, and others in Wilson County, had a day of activities honoring pi as a fun way of putting a spotlight on math.

“I think it makes math more fun,” Petway said. “We try to do something different every year.”

All grades in the school participated.

“We have been doing this for about seven years now,” said math teacher Elaine Riddick. “The kids really like it.”

Jenifer Carnes, who teaches sixth-grade math, said students made their own snacks to have throughout the day, as long as what they made was round.

“We had the students bring anything that was circular just to celebrate Pi Day,” Carnes said. “It’s just to get them excited a little bit about math and have something to look forward to in math and not a drudgery every single day.”

Carnes students went into the gym, created a circle holding hands and passed Hula-Hoops around the circle in a competition they called “Don’t Break the Chain.”

“They enjoy learning better when they are doing activities,” Petway said. “Today we are using circles in an art project, and the reason we are using circles is because Pi is a ratio from a circle dealing with the diameter and the circumference. Usually we have some physical activities, some art things, some math things and we sort of rotate between those.”

Between all of the activities, the students had several opportunities to appreciate how Pi, and math in general, is a key part of everyday life.

“Without circles, we would be a very square world,” Petway said.