# Pi Math in Palo Alto

My favorite math-related day of the year is in two days! Pi day is celebrated every year on March 14 in Palo Alto and elsewhere. Now, for those kids who do not know what pi is, I will quickly tell you. Pi is not the same as the delicious dessert pie. Pi, often written as the Greek letter ?, is the ratio between a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter. Pi can be approximated as 22/7, but it actually goes on forever: it starts 3.14159265358979… Since 3, 1, and 4 are pi’s first digits, we celebrate pi day on March 14 (3/14).

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

### Math Problems for Palo Alto Kids Using Pi

1. To help your Palo Alto child understand pi better, have them approximate pi themselves. Here are the steps to approximate pi.
Step 1: Find a circular object, like a plate. Then, measure the circumference (the edge of the plate) by wrapping a string around it and measuring the amount of string you used.
Step 2: Measure the diameter of the circular object
Step 3: Make a ratio of the circumference of the plate to it’s diameter. Plug that into a calculator, and your child should get a number very close to 3.14!
2. You walk around a circular track that has a radius of 18 feet. What is the circumference of the track? (Remember, circumference is found using the equation 2 * pi * radius)
3. You want to find the volume of a cup. If your favorite cup has a radius of 2 inches and is 5 inches tall, how much cubic inches of water can fill the cup? (Remember, volume for a cylinder is pi * radius^2 * height)

### A Fun Pi Tradition

A way to make your child LOVE pi day is by making a yummy pie with them. Before letting them taste the delicious pie, make them calculate the circumference and area of the pie using pi! You can also take your child to a restaurant in Palo Alto, like the Prolific Oven on Waverly Street, that serves pies and have them calculate the circumference and area of their pies using pi as well!

For more problems and information about math in and book recommendations, check out Palo Alto – Menlo Park Mathnasium’s website.