Cache County School District Celebrates March 14th as Pi Day
March 14th is the day that our nation celebrates Pi Day. We’re sure that a classroom near you will most likely be discussing this important number and possibly even...sharing an apple, banana cream, or chocolate silk pie! So you might be asking...why is this number so important that it gets its own day??
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is a constant number that stays the same regardless of which circle you use to compute it. It is also an infinite decimal. This means it has infinite numbers to the right of the decimal point. In decimal form the numbers to the right of the 0 never repeat in a pattern. You may know the number by its starting digits 3.14159, or if you continue, 3.14159265358979323846, and so on.
Pi has actually been around for a very long time. The Babylonians and Egyptians knew about the existence of a constant ratio that they approximated to be close to 3, although they did not know its exact value as well as we do today. The Babylonians had an approximation of 3 1/8 (3.125), and the Egyptians had an approximation of 4*(8/9)^2 (about 3.160484).
The modern symbol for Pi was chosen as the letter to represent the number 3.14159… because the letter in Greek, pronounced like our letter ‘p’, stands for perimeter. This makes sense because the circumference is the perimeter of a circle!
Teena Ivers, a math teacher at South Cache Middle School said, “So many of my students think that math always has an exact answer. Not true! I love to talk about the difference between rational and irrational numbers and talking about Pi is the best example of irrational. I love the history behind Pi.”
She continued, “I tell them if they want to become famous, find the end of PI or discover another fraction to get close to PI. What better reason do we have than to get the whole school talking about math?”