Pi Day

March 14th is π Day.

The third month and the 14th day
relates to 3.14 which is π to three
significant figures.

Today's challenge is to memorise π to as many digits as you can before it fades completely.


Just for fun play the pi memory game. Students could play the game in groups of three and the winners enter the class final! Two students stand back to back and take it in turns to say the next digit of pi. The person who gets furthest wins!

Though it is not necessary for students to memorise pi these days it is important that they are familiar with it and can use a rough approximation of it to estimate answers to questions. This exercise certainly helps students become familiar with pi but also uses pi as an arbitrary subject of this memory challenge.

Incidently, in the days when memorising pi was important people devised mnemonics such as “How I wish I could calculate pi” where the number of letters in each word represent the first seven digits of pi. Do you know any other mnemonics for remembering pi? Please let us know.

Here is the URL which will take them to Transum's Pi-Mon game about memorising pi.


Student Activity


Topics: Starter | Circles | Memory | Multiple Intelligences | Rounding

  • Karen, Klynnjansen@gmail.com
  • I absolutely love many of your problems. I search for open-ended ones & your site usually provides a lot of them! Thanks!
    One suggestion I have is to always have one matching a holiday. I really enjoy incorporating the holidays/current events. I see you have a great upcoming one for Valentine's Day. You provided a fun one on Halloween.
    A few that I would like to see added:
    a Mardi Gras week or at least one on Fat Tuesday
    Super Bowl
    100th Day (or related to the number 100, I realize this varies from school to school, but maybe a week's worth of questions geared toward this celebration)
    St. Patrick's Day
    Keep up the excellent problems for our students.
    Greatly appreciated!
    Veterans Day.
  • Transum,
  • You may have scrolled this far down the page and missed the buttons above that allow you to vary the amount of time pi is visible on the screen. This function adds urgency and excitement to the memorising part of the lesson. You choose the time that would work best for your class. Happy Pi Day!
  • Matthew Zhao, Craigslea State Primary School
  • Starting from last year, I have memorised pi to 100 digits. I purposely finished memorising 100 digits on March 12th. March 13th was for practice and March 14th was for presentation.
  • Will, Carshalton Boys
  • Afterwards, I showed the class the world record holders. They loved it. http://pi-world-ranking-list.com/lists/memo/.
  • Transum,
  • The first time a digit repeats six times in succession in pi is at the 762nd position where you can find six nines in a row. This is known as the Feynman Point.
  • Joke,
  • An opinion without 3.14159265359 is just an onion.
  • Transum,
  • The Welsh mathematician William Jones (1675–1749) introduced the symbol π in 1706, most likely after the Greek word for periphery, which starts with the letter π.
  • Transum,
  • Did you know that you can buy numbers but the most expensive is π.
    Buying π in Jamaica costs £2.00
    Buying π in Trinidad costs £2.40
    Buying π in St Kitts costs £2.15
    These are the π rates of the Caribbean!
  • Transum,
  • How heavy is pi? Where would you go to find its weight?

    "Somewhere over the rainbow…. Weigh a pi".
  • Pranay Pathole, Twitter
  • Paul A. Kirschner, Twitter
  • Yuki, Twitter
  • Happy Birthday Einstein,
  • Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day in 1879. Einstein excelled at Maths from a young age, reaching a mathematical level years ahead of his peers. The 12-year-old Einstein taught himself algebra and Euclidean geometry over a single summer. Einstein also independently discovered his own original proof of the Pythagoras' theorem while he was only 12. A family tutor says that after he had given the 12-year-old Einstein a geometry textbook, after a short time Albert had worked through the whole book. As a 14-year-old he says he had "mastered integral and differential calculus"!
  • Halloween,
  • Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
    A: Pumpkin Pi.
  • Matelot,
  • 3.14% of Sailors are PI rates!
  • Pastoralist,
  • Q. What do you need to calculate the distance around a circle of sheep?
    A. Shepherd's Pi.
  • Dr Ben Blum-Smith, Tweet
  • The numbers corresponding to the letters in "Pi Day" are the first five perfect squares.

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
Click here to enter your comments.

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Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops?  This page was really designed for projection on a whiteboard but if you really want the students to have access to it here is a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments:


However it would be better to assign one of the student interactive activities below.

Laptops In Lessons

Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.


Circle attributes


How does the circumference of a glass compare to the height of the glass? You'll be surprised when you find out.


Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more...

How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

What more could the inquisitive adult want for Christmas? This book makes a cosy, interesting read in front of the fire on those cold winter evenings. more...

Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

For the young people in your life it is a great investment. Bought as a Christmas present but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more...

Apple iPad Pro

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent gift for anyone.

The redesigned Retina display is as stunning to look at as it is to touch. It all comes with iOS, the world's most advanced mobile operating system. iPad Pro. Everything you want modern computing to be. more...

Before giving an iPad as a Christmas gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

Aristotle's Number Puzzle

It’s a bit of a tradition to give puzzles as Christmas Gifts to nieces and nephews. This puzzle is ideal for the keen puzzle solver who would like a challenge that will continue over the festive period (at least!).

This number puzzle involves nineteen numbers arranged into a hexagon. The goal of the puzzle is to rearrange the numbers so each of the fifteen rows add up to 38. It comes in a wooden style with an antique, aged look.

Keep the Maths in Christmaths with this reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

The Story Of Maths [DVD]

The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

Marcus du Sautoy's wonderful programmes make a perfect Christmas gift more...

Christmas Maths

This book provides a wealth of fun activities with a Christmas theme. Each photocopiable worksheet is matched to the Numeracy Strategy and compatible with the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines. This series is designed for busy teachers in the late Autumn term who are desperate for materials that are relevant and interesting and that can be completed with minimun supervision.

All the activities are suitable for use by class teachers, supply teachers, SEN teachers and classroom assistants and cover topics such as 'How many partridges did the true love give all together?' and 'Filling a sleigh with presents by rolling a dice!'. Children will have lots of fun working through the Christmas Maths themes but also gain valuable skills along the way.

A great source of ideas and another reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

A Compendium Of 	Mathematical Methods

A Compendium Of Mathematical Methods

How many different methods do you know to solve simultaneous equations? To multiply decimals? To find the nth term of a sequence?

A Compendium of Mathematical Methods brings together over one hundred different approaches from classrooms all over the world, giving curious mathematicians the opportunity to explore fascinating methods that they've never before encountered.

If you teach mathematics to any age group in any country, you are guaranteed to learn lots of new things from this delightful book. It will deepen your subject knowledge and enhance your teaching, whatever your existing level of expertise. It will inspire you to explore new approaches with your pupils and provide valuable guidance on explanations and misconceptions. more...

Math with Bad Drawings

I had been tutoring the wonderful Betsy for five years. When the day came for our last ever session together before the end of her Year 13, I received this beautiful book as a gift of appreciation.

This a very readable book by Ben Orlin. I'm really enjoying the humour in the writing and the drawings are great.

Ben Orlin answers maths' three big questions: Why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard? The answers come in various forms-cartoons, drawings, jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that mathematics should belong to everyone. more...

Click the images above to see all the details of these gift ideas and to buy them online.

Maths T-Shirts

Maths T-shirts on Amazon
Maths T-Shirts on Amazon

Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon link. As an Amazon Associate I earn a small amount from qualifying purchases which helps pay for the upkeep of this website.

Educational Technology on Amazon


Parts of a circle 

Pie In The Sky

Pie In The Sky

Must-watch Pi videos

Cartoon Maths

Pi and Four Fingers

Pi and Four Fingers

In this video mathematician Simon Singh talks about Pi and Maths in The Simpsons cartoon.

The short web address is:


Watch and Learn

Facts About Pi

Facts You Should Know About Pi

Mathematician Presh Talwalkar explains five facts you should know about pi.

The short web address is:


Great Video

A Brief History of Pi

A Brief History of Pi

A video from Simon Clark presenting a deep but accessible account of the history of pi.

The short web address is:


Unexpected places to find Pi

Euler's identity

\( e^{i \pi}+1 = 0 \)

Where \(e\) is Euler's number, the base of natural logarithms (2.718...) and
\(i\) is the imaginary unit, the square root of negative one.

Leibniz Formula

\( \frac{4}{1} - \frac{4}{3} + \frac{4}{5} - \frac{4}{7} \ldots = \pi\)

First discovered by the Indian mathematician Madhava of Sangamagrama in the 14th century
then adapted and published by Gottfried Leibniz around 1676.

Normal Distribution

\( \frac{1}{ \sqrt{2 \pi}}e^{- \frac12 x^2} \)

The normal distribution is the most important continuous distribution in
statistics and the graph is sometimes more commonly referred to as the bell-shaped curve.

Buffon's Needle

\( \frac{2L \times n}{th} = \pi \)

drop \(n\) needles of length \(L\) onto a plane ruled with parallel lines \(t\) units apart.
Count the number of needles, \(h\), that cross lines.

Sum of Reciprocals of Squares

\( \displaystyle \sum_{n = 1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6} \)

First posed by Mengoli in 1650 and solved by Euler in 1734 this is known as The Basel problem.


\( \displaystyle\int_{-\infty}^\infty e^{-x^2}dx=\sqrt\pi \)

Even calculus has a use for pi as can be seen in this integration.


\( ( \frac12 )! = \frac{\sqrt{\pi}}{2} \)

I didn't know you could find the factorial of a fraction.

Matt Parker's new book is all about our mistakes and misadventures with maths, geometry and all things numbers. Going from the mundane as to arguments about how many days in a week and the shape of footballs on signs, to famous errors and mistakes like the Space Shuttle disaster, London's walkie talkie building and the Millennium wobbly bridge. He explains how these problems occurred and in the case of some that they had occured in the past and we hadn't learnt from previous experience.

Originally a maths teacher from Australia, Matt Parker now lives in Godalming in a house full of almost every retro video-game console ever made. He is fluent in binary and could write your name in a sequence of noughts and ones in seconds. He loves doing maths and stand-up, often simultaneously.

You can find out more about this book here

Top Scottish teacher Chris Smith was interviewed on the Mr Barton podcast
and talked about his school's amazing Pi Day themes.

Chris Smith's Pi Day Themes

Mr Barton Podcast Transum Podcast Transum Podcast RSS

AsapSCIENCE presents The Pi Song (Memorize 100 Digits Of π) - Wonderful!

Pi Memory Game on Google

Type pi into the Google search engine page in your browser. Click the π symbol (I've drawn a red arrow pointing to it) and the game will begin. The value of pi will appear to ever increasing levels of accuracy which you then have to type back into the calculator. Your score will appear at the top left. How far can you get?

Pi Game on Google
Pi Water

I am glad that Pi is pronounced to rhyme with eye!

Pi Pie Chart

Three hundred and fourteen people were asked what first
springs to mind when dividing the circumference of a circle by its diameter.

Many More Interactive Circle Activities Online

Circle Activities Circle Activities Circle Activities Circle Activities


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