Middle school celebrates Pi Day

Highland Middle School students in Anna Taylor’s math classes participated in the annual Pi Day memorization contest on March 14.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle. Regardless of the circle’s size, this ratio will always equal pi (3.14); thus, it is celebrated on March 14. Pi is an irrational number and therefore its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern.

Pi Day was officially recognized in 2009 by the United States Congress.

As part of the fun, students memorized as many digits as they could to compete for the prizes: three chocolate cream pies.

During the 2023 contest, Jenna Parry broke a new school record with 420 digits memorized, while Henry Ohlemacher came in second place with 411 digits memorized, and Ishan Pande came in third with 270.

Although the Greek letter “Π” for Pi was not used until 1706, the value of Pi has a long history. It traces its beginnings back to about 2,000 B.C. to the Babylonian Empire, followed several hundred years later by Egyptian mathematicians. While the accuracy of other ancient mathematicians was close, in 250 B.C., Archimedes, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, calculated more accurately that Pi is a bit bigger than 3.1408. By 263 A.D. a Chinese mathematician calculated the value of Pi as 3.141.

As to the number of decimal places Pi has been calculated, computers have recently calculated more than 13 trillion – and counting continues. ∞

Featured Photo: Jenna Parry, Ishan Pande and Henry Ohlemacher show off the pies they won in the annual Highland Middle School Pi Day contest. Photo submitted.