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Math as easy as Pi

March 14 is Pi Day (3.14… get it?) and it is also Albert Einstein’s birthday! At Glazer Children’s Museum, we’re in the business of teaching through play. So how do we share our love of the iconic number Pi and make math cool for kids? Throw a giant pie fight in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, of course! The event is free to all and includes pizza pie from Tampa Pizza Company. It even features special guest Albert Einstein himself, played by a museum Playologist. The kids come to get messy and have fun, but once they are here it provides a great platform to talk about math with programs like the “Stump a Playologist” math challenge.

The purpose of the museum’s Pi Day event is to start a conversation about math in a fun and approachable way for children. Here are ideas for how to celebrate Pi Day with your family… and sneak in some math while you’re at it!

Go to a Pizzeria
Dine out (or in) as a family and while you eat, explain to your kids that Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Order several pizzas so you can cut each into a different number of slices to demonstrate the ratio of a single piece to the whole circle

Bake a Pie
Cooking can be a great family bonding experience, and the teachable moments are endless! It can help kids learn responsibility, planning, how to follow directions, and even math. While you bake, challenge your kids to measure out their own ingredients then let them cut the slices when the pie is ready to be served. As you enjoy your treat, be sure to discuss Pi and fractions.

Make a Masterpiece
From fine motor skills to creativity to color mixing, painting is another family activity that can provide infinite opportunities for learning and fun. It can even be a platform to discuss Pi! Try to paint the symbol π and discuss how Greek letters are used to represent different mathematical concepts.

Go Outdoors
The Fibonacci sequence occurs frequently in nature. It can be seen in flowers, pinecones, and seashells, to name a few. Go outside and try to spot natural occurring Fibonacci spirals, then explain to your kids the relationship to Pi. Here’s a tip, PBS has a fantastic 5-minute video on its website explaining the phenomenon.

Sling some pies!
Participate in Glazer Children’s Museum’s epic pie fight in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, where you’ll get messy, eat pizza, sing happy birthday to Albert Einstein, and challenge your math skills with Pi-themed programs.

By Kate White, Glazer Children’s Museum


Originally published in the March 2019 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine. Pick up your free copy in the museum lobby!