Middle school students celebrate Pi Day

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published March 21, 2013

 Harper Woods Middle School students Samantha Reynolds, Brianna Hayes and Tra’Von Jones visit the pie table with their teacher, Sheree Burns.

Harper Woods Middle School students Samantha Reynolds, Brianna Hayes and Tra’Von Jones visit the pie table with their teacher, Sheree Burns.

Photo by Deb Jacques

HARPER WOODS — Eighth-grade students at Harper Woods Middle School celebrated Pi Day March 14 with a little bit of pie, but first they learned all about the famous, irrational number.

In mathematics, pi, a Greek letter, symbolizes the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Written as a number, pi is rounded to 3.14, which is why March 14 is Pi Day. Part of pi’s allure is that it must be rounded, because it continues infinitely with no pattern after the decimal point.

Teacher Sheree Burns hosted the second annual Pi Day in her classes. The students learned about the mathematical and historical aspects of pi by completing a scavenger hunt using the Internet.

“Students will research the history of the day, both nationally and internationally,” Burns said in an email. “They will find their birthdates and phone numbers in the digits of pi, listen to pi put to music, etc.”

Most of the lessons were given on the day before the official Pi Day, so Pi Day was reserved for something to tempt the stomach while enriching their minds.

The students were able to enjoy “the variety of pies we have made in celebration of the day,” Burns said.

One fun fact this year was that one of her students’ last name is Pye, pronounced the same as pi.

With this being the second of what Burns hopes will be an annual activity, last year’s program seemed to be a success with students.

“The kids in the high school come back and ask about it,” Burns said.

This year’s program was a hit with students, as well.

“This is really fun to actually interact with real stuff instead of just reading books all the time,” student Devone Williams said, adding that it makes school more fun.

Student Brian Lucas also enjoyed the activities.

“You’re still learning, but it’s a new and creative way,” he said. “You can be interactive.”

During the learning activities, the students were able to research pi and complete math questions in a scavenger hunt.

They were given “clean and mathematical” lyrics to a pi song to the tune of Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself.”

During class, they were even able to listen to a musician use the number pi to create an instrumental song using several instruments. It gave the musicians in the classroom something to appreciate, as well, but it also showed how linked the arts are to mathematics, Burns said.

“It’s really neat,” Burns said. “Different people have put it to music, but his is the best that I’ve seen.”

The students said they like being able to research the information about pi using technology.

“You can look on the Internet to find out more interesting stuff,” student Camei Pennington said.

“It’s fun because you get to get on the computer,” student Sharon Overall said.