Today is Pi Day. The Greek letter Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is rounded to 3.14. Many teachers and schools plan events around 3/14 to engage students in math and science activities. This week the House approved H.Res. 224, supporting the designation of Pi Day and its celebration around the world; recognizing the continuing importance of National Science Foundation’s math and science education programs; and encouraging schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics. The first Pi Day was celebrated in 1988 at San Francisco’s Exploratorium.
Rep. Lincoln Davis spoke in favor of recognizing Pi Day:
“On Pi Day we want students to have fun with math and science. Second graders could calculate the area of a pizza pie at a Pi Day pizza party. Sixth graders could learn about Newton’s law of math – motion from a game of bocce ball. 10th graders could learn about the hyperbolic functions by shooting Nerf rockets in the park. I’ll leave the specifics to the schools, but my advice is to go and have some fun. Let the students see firsthand how math and science is fun and relevant. Let them see that it does apply to them. Let them discover that they really do like math and they really do like science. This is a lighthearted event with the underlying problems that we have in America is serious.”
Supporting the designation of Pi Day, and for other purposes.
Whereas the Greek letter (Pi) is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter;
Whereas the ratio Pi is an irrational number, which will continue infinitely without repeating, and has been calculated to over one trillion digits;
Whereas Pi is a recurring constant that has been studied throughout history and is central in mathematics as well as science and engineering;
Whereas mathematics and science are a critical part of our children’s education, and children who perform better in math and science have higher graduation and college attendance rates;
Whereas aptitude in mathematics, science, and engineering is essential for a knowledge-based society;
Whereas, according to the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) survey done by the National Center for Education Statistics, American children in the 4th and 8th grade were outperformed by students in other countries including Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, England, South Korea, Latvia, and Japan;
Whereas since 1995 the United States has shown only minimal improvement in math and science test scores;
Whereas by the 8th grade, American males outperform females on the science portion of the TIMSS survey, especially in Biology, Physics, and Earth Science, and the lowest American scores in math and science are found in minority and impoverished school districts;
Whereas America needs to reinforce mathematics and science education for all students in order to better prepare our children for the future and in order to compete in a 21st Century economy;
Whereas the National Science Foundation has been driving innovation in math and science education at all levels from elementary through graduate education since its creation 59 years ago;
Whereas mathematics and science can be a fun and interesting part of a child’s education, and learning about Pi can be an engaging way to teach children about geometry and attract them to study science and mathematics; and
Whereas Pi can be approximated as 3.14, and thus March 14, 2009, is an appropriate day for `National Pi Day’: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) supports the designation of a `Pi Day’ and its celebration around the world;
(2) recognizes the continuing importance of National Science Foundation’s math and science education programs; and
(3) encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.
PS: The Capitol Rotunda, a circular room at the center of the United States Capitol, is 96 feet in diameter.