Pi Day offers students chance to celebrate math
Pi Day, March 14, is becoming a tradition at the school, which invites students from several other Catholic schools to join the math-related fun.
Children spent the day in the gym measuring, estimating, multiplying and dividing. They zipped through worksheets of math problems, trying to beat the timer.
They learned about Greek letters and used them to spell their names. They dropped objects on a grid, guessing how many would land where.
“Numbers are so fun,” said Raymond Reynaga, a St. James fifth-grader. “They’re challenging. I love getting a challenge.”
He and his classmates are especially intrigued by pi, which works out to 3.1415926353 ad infinitum. And on Pi Day, they used it find out about of all sorts of circles.
They rolled hula hoops across the floor, then divided the distance around, the circumference, by the distance across, the diameter. They were hoping their measurements were accurate enough to give them an answer close to 3.14.
They measured halfway across, to find the radius, then multiplied by pi to find the area.
They did the same with flying discs. And big jar lids. And rubber doughnuts. And bottle caps. Nothing circular was immune from being measured.
Gus Papelis, St. James’ math, music and science teacher, who happened to be born on March 14, led the Pi Day activities.
While he and other teachers oversaw most of the activities, one of the stations was run by a pair of Linfield College math majors, Cameron Chester and Geoff Hamilton. “It’s cool to see young kids excited about math,” Hamilton said.
It’s an excitement both he and Chester share.
“When I was their age, I probably wouldn’t have said I wanted to be a math major,” Chester said. “But I developed a real joy for math at Linfield. If you make problems fun to solve, math can be a great puzzle every time.”