Today is Pi Day, the unofficial holiday commemorating pi (π), the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. In honor of this day I recommend two elementary- and middle school-level books that offer an engaging approach to learning the concepts of the mathematical constant.
In Cindy Neuschwander’s Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (Charlesbridge Publishing Inc., 1999) students learn geometric terminology when Sir Cumference transforms into the Dragon of Pi and his son Radius races against the hourglass to concoct a magic potion before the transformation is set and it is too late to change Sir Cumference back to himself. The vignettes and bold illustrations in Johnny Ball’s Why Pi? (DK Children, 2009) show students how mathematics has been used to create the foundations of human civilizations throughout the ages.
You can continue to celebrate this day (and Einstein’s birthday, which is also today) with resources and activities, including Princeton University’s PiDayPrinceton, Edutopia, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics , PBS, Exploratorium Museum’s Pi Day site, the U.S. Department of Education’s official blog Homeroom, and musician Michael Blake’s “What Pi Sounds Like,” a musical interpretation of Pi (to 31 decimal places).
How are you celebrating Pi Day? Leave your comments below, or tell us on Twitter at @EWBookMarks, using #PiDay.
A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.