Schools, restaurants, science center celebrate math on 'Pi Day'
At the sound of a sharp whistle, schoolchildren wiggled their arms and carefully stepped through a hula hoop as they passed it around a human circle, racing to finish the drill without breaking the chain.
If their hands separated, the circle would be broken and pi would be lost, so the Hillcrest Intermediate students held tight, cheering each other on to victory.
From students to hotdog artisans to technical engineers, people across Western Pennsylvania celebrated Pi Day, the unofficial holiday honoring the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
It is approximately equal to 3.14, but its decimals “continue infinitely without repetition or pattern,” according to PiDay.org, the holiday's official website.
It's appropriately held on March 14, often designated as 3⁄14 in dates.
In the gym at Hillcrest Intermediate School, the sixth-grade girls were a little more dainty in their circle, gently passing the hoop to each other. The boys, a little more rambunctious, didn't mind knocking the hoop into each other to get it around the circle faster.
“In their classrooms, we talked about pi and how it's used to find circumference,” said Donna Duncan, a sixth-grade algebra and science teacher in the Norwin School District. “They learn better when they do something rather than have someone talking about pi.”
Students at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh, an independent school for girls, also participated in hands-on activities to celebrate Pi Day.
“Mathematics, science, engineering and technology are absolutely crucial parts of our curricula,” said Kitty Julian, school spokeswoman.
In Amy Yam's Algebra II class, students were challenged to use circular objects to calculate pi.
“Within 10 minutes, the students see that, regardless of the size of the circles, the ratio is the same,” Julian said. “That ratio is pi.”
The first Pi Day celebration is widely believed to have occurred in San Francisco in 1988.
Larry Shaw, a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium, celebrated by marching around one of the building's circular spaces with staff, then ate fruit pie.
The California museum celebrated Pi Day for its 25th year with a Pi Parade and, of course, slices of pie.
In Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center incorporated its Pi Day celebration into its new, monthly age 21-and-up events.
Educators dropped matchsticks on grids to explain pi, while professional card dealers from Rivers Casino explained probability and gave lessons on blackjack, craps and roulette.An executive chef from the Casino was serving specialty pies in the center's Kitchen Theater.“We're a little bit nerdy; why not celebrate one of the most nerdy holidays of the year?” said Zach Weber, an adult educator at the center.
His background is in math, but Weber said it's exciting to see people from different areas celebrate pi.
It's awesome when something as nerdy as Pi Day gets brought up in non-math circles,” he said. “They might not know what it can do, but people know what pi is. Math is cool. It doesn't have to be boring all the time.”
Bakeries and food shops around the region got in on the fun by offering specials for Pi Day.
At Keystone Bakery in Monessen, customers received a free lunch pie with a $15 purchase. Franktuary, a Pittsburgh hotdog shop, celebrated by offering “pi-erogies” for half off and pies for $3.14.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn Township man seeking gun permit accused of bringing heroin to courthouse
- Consent decree that limits weddings at Foxley Farms ruled valid
- YouTube campaign by Latrobe 4-year-old aids Alzheimer’s Association
- Police: Westmoreland women stole thousands to pay for dog show hobby
- Father, son killed in East Huntingdon crash
- Monday is pizza night at St. Pius
- Adelphoi resident charged as adult in Latrobe assault
- Latrobe man who admitted role in fatal crash allowed to continue driving
- Sewickley Township man got food stamps, $206K in gas well royalties, investigators say
- Sunoco wants to rebuild station in Greensburg
- Murrysville man draws on experiences in starting SAT prep academy