Staff and students at Milwaukee Scholars recently came together to celebrate a day that recognizes a mathematical constant, with a fun and messy twist. Originally defined as “the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter,” Pi (π) Day is celebrated annually on March 14.
Pi, denoted by Greek letter π, is more commonly known as a 3.14, or the number that never ends, repeats, or shows a pattern. Computers have calculated Pi past 22 trillion digits… and counting. To celebrate, students and staff were encouraged to memorize and recite as many numbers from Pi as they could.
“Each class was invited to send their top two scholars,” said Tinamarie Tate, sixth-grade math teacher at Milwaukee Scholars. “In all, 22 scholars participated and the scholars with the highest number from each group got to ‘pie’ a teacher.”
In the weeks leading up to the Pi Day contest, Tate worked with her students on calculating the size of a circle. She recited as many digits as she could and challenged her students to do the same. As a class, they then worked to add five additional digits per day.
Sixth-grade scholar, Demund O’Kelley, took home the pie as the school’s winner by memorizing and reciting 115 digits. To put that in perspective, the first 115 digits of Pi are:
Whew, that’s quite a feat! Paige Ferguson, eighth-grader at Milwaukee Scholars, was the runner up.
“The entire school came together for the assembly,” said Patty Ruiter, admissions representative at Milwaukee Scholars. “Teachers were great sports for this fun-filled event, and we had more teacher volunteers than needed!”
Eight teachers had pies thrown in their face by the seven scholars who recited the highest Pi number. Though 11 teachers volunteered, only eight from the group were selected for the messy honor.
“Pi Day is one of my favorite contests of the year,” said Tate. “It is a contest in which all scholars can participate, and the JOY factor is phenomenal! Scholars who were afraid to compete had so much fun that they vowed to participate next year. It was a time to come together, celebrate learning, and laugh!”