6 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Pi Day "circles around" each year on March 14 (3.14), and celebrating it in your classroom can be a great way to amp up your students' math mojo while having some fun. Veteran teacher Heather shares her 6 favorite ways to "ring in" Pi Day!

Updated on: March 4, 2020

6 classroom activities to celebrate pi day

Any math teacher (or self-proclaimed math geek...I mean, math lover )is sure to know that Pi Day is March 14th! This "holiday" owes its existence to the fact that 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits in pi (3.141592653).

If you aren’t overly familiar with pi because you haven’t taught math before or didn’t pay attention in your high school classes, pi is a mathematical constant. It’s a formula that appears in both mathematics and physics. It’s the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. This can be very hard for little learners to understand, but you can certainly use some creativity and a little craftiness to make the day fun and emphasize the 3.14 connection.

If you’re looking to participate in some fun on Pi Day, here are a few of my favorite activities for celebrating!

Pie Tasting

pi day pie tasting activity tally board

Visit your local wholesale retailer and pick up 3 extra large pies. Slice them so that every student is able to sample a sliver, and have a pie taste test! After explaining to students that it’s Pi Day, along with what it is, conduct a vote for students’ favorite pie. Collect tally marks and turn them into a class pie chart to showcase the data collected! That’s a whole lot of “pi” in one math class.

It’s a Circle Thing

Younger elementary students may not totally get the whole theory of pi, but you can start teaching them about one part of the formula! Secure a measuring tape for each student. Demonstrate how you can find the circumference of a circular object by measuring around it. After practicing a few times in class, take a walk around the classroom and school with tape measures in hand in order to find the circumference of 3 round objects.

You can also bring in some circular items from your home (such as cans, candles, jars) and set up a measuring station if that will make it easier for you to keep your kiddos contained.

Pi Crowns

pi day pie crowns activity example crown

In order to make a physical connection with the concept of pi, print out a crown template on colored cardstock. Have students write “Happy Pi Day” on it. In order to fit the crown to each child, measure the circumference of their head using a floppy tape measure. After recording the measurement, apply it to the hat’s strip and staple it accordingly. You are demonstrating a practical application while having fun and dressing up at the same time!

Pi Pie Plates

More suited for students in grades 4-5, this activity can visually and physically help them understand the idea of circumference, diameter, and even radius. Give each student a blank white paper plate. After watching this video on pi, walk students through the process of measuring the diameter of the plate and multiplying it by 3.14 in order to find the circumference. Students can decorate their pi pie plate however they wish to make it look like an actual pie. Once they get the hang of it, give them a smaller plate so that the measurements change. See if they can calculate the new circumference on their own (or in a group for students who need more accommodations).

Share a Story

One of the best stories you can read your kiddos in order to celebrate and help them understand the concept of pi is “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi.” (There is also a video version.) Whether you choose to read it together with younger learners, or assign it as a center reading activity for older students, the illustrations and language will help children make sense of a complex topic in a very relatable way.

Color the Morning Away

pi day coloring worksheet activity example

Replace your usual morning work with a Pi Appreciation lesson or work activity. This is perfect if you don’t have a lot of time or wiggle room in your curriculum to put aside an entire day dedicated to pi. There are many free pi template sheets you can print out online, or you can even opt to design your own. Some of my favorites include the symbol of pi itself and some prompts that are cross-curricular. Students can come up with 3 words that begin with “pi” and they can list four of their favorite round objects. Totally for fun as a warm up worksheet, your students can take it home and share their artistic efforts and creative thinking with their family! There are even fun lesson plans available for middle-schoolers.

Pi Day may "circle" around once a year, but you can keep the spirit of this formula on a continuous “loop” in your classroom! Consider some of these activities to try with your elementary and middle students to capture their interest and engage their mathematical minds on March 14th.

How do you celebrate Pi Day? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Heather Aulisio is a third grade teacher in Pennsylvania. She has been a teacher for nearly 15 years and holds multiple degrees and certifications. A freelancer for The Mailbox and other education-related clients and publications, she enjoys writing in order to help and entertain fellow teachers. She currently resides with her husband, Bryan; son, Matthew; and two pugs, Lily and Leo.

You've been given early access to our Black Friday Sale!

Use promo code BF20 at checkout for 75% off unlimited access.

Continue to checkout

Annual and 2-year plans renew at full price. Monthly plans renew after 12 consecutive months of premium membership. Restrictions apply. Cancel anytime.