If you’re new around here, you’re in for a treat! If you’re a regular, you know what’s coming and you’re still in for a treat because that is what π does . . . treat us all!
My love of π started several years ago when I was working with English teachers new to China. Kind of a curveball, right? English teachers in China? What? I know. Throughout the three week orientation period I taught small modules on expectations based on Expectations And Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission. Sounds about as far away from math as you can get.
One of the areas we talked about involved our expectations about God. If you would like to hear overly optimistic, Sunday School answers about the nature of God, talk to a group of people who are just starting their adventure in service in a foreign land. Hey, I get it. When I first went to China, I was star-eyed and fairly unaware of how experiences I would have in China would maybe be confusing to what I thought I knew about God and how He operated.
The chapter on expectations of God is worth getting the book! I knew I ran the risk of either being too simplistic or sounded like a bitter “been there, done that” old-hand when it came to God. How could I lead a discussion on the amazingness of God from an angle that was unexpected.
Hit a group of English teachers with a math lesson, that’s how.
In case you’re a bit rusty on math, π comes from taking the circumference of a circle and dividing it by its diameter. Marvel in this π:
- Never stops.
- Never repeats.
- Is irrational (in the mathematical sense, not emotionally)
- You always see something different because it never repeats. No pattern exists. Even at about best attempts to be random, as limited humans we cannot help but have patterns.
- It is quite mysterious.
What a beautiful description of God. Every single circle literally radiates the glory and majesty of God.
That lecture—those who heard it might have called it preaching because of how animated and passionate I became—was the start of my love affair with pi.
March 14th is π Day (3.14, get it?! Love it!?). Two years ago was the Ultimate π Day since Pi is 3.141592… and the date was 3.14.15. Last year was Well Rounded π as 3.14159 rounds up to 3.1416. What was the date last year? 3.14.16.
What more could be said about Pi? Have no fear, Pi is the gift that keeps on giving.
1. Like most of life, Pi is never the same two year in a row. Two years it might have been the Ultimate Pi day, last year it is Well Rounded Pi.
Of note this year, Niece #3 is at Outdoor Lab this week for school. Since π day is in the midst of when the 6th graders will be gone, they are having a contest to see who can say the most digits. Want to try it with your friends? Why not.
Might I recommend this song to learn as many digits of pi as you can. It is catchy! Enjoy.
A friend sent me a picture she took at a McDonalds in Chengdu (where I used to live many moons ago):
Can you believe it? I love it.
Which leads me to my next reason I love π.
2. Pi can be whimsical and fun. A friend asked me why I talk about math so much. Simple answer is so much beauty and fun exist in math. Unfortunately that is not the the message most (at least Americans) believe. Pi Day offers us a chance to challenge this message in the best way! Jokes. Songs. Cartoons. Food. Come on, you try and throw a better party.
3. Not only is Pi different each year, so am I. Pi doesn’t actually change, but I liked the sound of that sentence. What I mean is that my relationship and understanding of pi is dynamic. I also change each year. This year, for the first time, I won’t be able to eat pizza or pie. Sigh. Elizabeth kindly texted me saying, “I can’t stand the thought of you not having pie, I could make you a tart using almond flour.” You know you are in a mathy family when there is sadness over mathy fun. Here is hoping that next year I can at least eat a small piece of pizza.
- Listen to these songs: Pi Songs 1 and Pi Songs 2 — be amazed at the relationship between music and math.
- Tell of of these Pi jokes — who can you tell one to?
- Laugh at the Pi cartoons — the cleverness just bowls me over!
- Tap into your artsy side with Pi-ku
- What it means to live Life vs. Life Ala Mode
Happy Pi Day! How are you different this π Day from other years? What are you doing to celebrate? Any other stores or businesses getting in on Pi this year?
P.S. The family is eating raspberry blackberry pie. Yum! What kinds of pie are your favorite?