Celebrate Pi Day on Mar. 14

We’re having a pre-celebration for Pi Day at the Okanagan School of Education, with a guest feature from one of our graduate students, Leslie Shayer! Shayer is a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Okanagan College, and a Master of Arts in Education student. She is currently working on finishing her thesis where her research focuses on the impact of contemplative practices on math anxiety.

Read Shayer’s profile to learn more about her research.

March 14 is Pi Day, since 3.14 are the first three digits of pi (π). Pi is defined to be the circumference (or perimeter) of a circle divided by its diameter, where the diameter is a straight line from one point on the circle to another point on the circle, going through the center. I know, I know, you were hoping to read about pie…

If math makes you cringe, for one day I challenge you to try to have a more positive attitude and an open mind towards mathematics. After all, how you feel about math can affect those around you.

Here are a few of my favourite math activities to help celebrate Pi Day:

  1. Go for a walk with a friend (pets included). Count the number of birds that you see on your trip. Compare with the next walk you take. Were there more or less birds on the next walk? Can you think of a reason for the difference? Great data collecting!
  2. When grocery shopping, try to strategically place the contents of your cart on the belt in a way to minimize wasted space. Can you do better next time? Celebrate your spatial skills – the person in-line behind you is probably in awe of your spatial awareness!
  3. Bake with a youngster. Take your favourite recipe (maybe pie?) and double it. Ask them to double all the ingredients for you. Make sure that you take care of putting things in and taking things out of the oven. Congratulations for working with fractions – see that wasn’t so bad!
  4. Mix drinks with another adult. Take your favourite drink recipe and double it to share with another adult. Toast to proportions – you couldn’t mix drinks without them!
  5. Wrap a present – yes, it can be for yourself. Can you find a way to use just enough paper without wasting? Great surface area work!
  6. Relax with some colouring. Try colouring a mandala (a geometric shape, generally made of sand, used for relaxation). Some free ones may be found online.

Did you know that Geometry could be so fun?

If you’ve tried one of two of these activities, pat yourself in the back. Or better yet, have a piece of pie (including pizza-pie)!

Looking for more math positivity? Read this CBC article “When Math is Accessible to any Brain We Can Make Better Political Social Choices, says Mathematician.” Or watch this TEDx presentation on “Believe in Your Maths Potential”.

Or check out this book from your closest library: Paulos, J. (1988). Innumeracy: Mathematical illiteracy and its consequences. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.

Do you have any math tips or activities to share? Leave them in the comments!

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