Pi Lesson for Kids Facts & History

Instructor: Joy Blake

Joy has been a teacher for over ten years. She has primarily taught Middle School Math and has a Master's degree in Educational Leadership.

In this lesson, we'll explore the history of pi. You'll read about how pi was discovered and calculated throughout history. You'll also learn the relationship between pi and circles and how pi is used mathematically.

Let Them Eat Pi

Margo's birthday is March 14th. She is super excited. On her birthday, Margo goes to school expecting it to be a regular day but to her surprise there is a math celebration going on at her school. It's called Pi Day. Margo discovers that Pi Day is a day that is set aside nationally to celebrate the math symbol pi. Her teacher tells her that it is always on March 14th because March is the third month so it looks like the approximation of pi which is 3.14.

Pi Day is a national celebration for the math symbol pi, shown at the center of the pie in this image. Pi Day occurs every year on March 14th.
Pi Day image

All types of fun things and activities happened throughout Margo's school day. There was a pie eating contest, kids were able to throw pies at teachers, she decorated circles in art class and kids got to compete to see how many digits in pi they could remember.

Since the Pi Day celebration made Margo's birthday even more special, she decided that she wanted to learn more about pi. Read on to find out what Margo discovered.

What Is Pi?

Pi is represented by a Greek letter that is an abbreviation for the Greek word perimeter. It is used in geometry to help mathematicians discover the elements of a circle. Pi represents the the ratio of a circle's circumference (length around a circle) to its diameter (distance from one side of a circle to the opposite side).

Image of circle illustrating circumference and diameter

You can find pi by discovering the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. This is shown in the formula: Circumference/Diameter = Pi

Pi is approximately equal to 3.14159265358979323846…

Most mathematicians just abbreviate pi to 3.14159 or even shorter to 3.14

Pi is a decimal that goes on and on forever without stopping. It has no set pattern to its digits. Pi and circles are interrelated. No matter what the size of the circle, pi will always stay the same.

Who First Discovered Pi?

Pi has been around as long as circles have been around. It is believed that the Egyptians were among the first to discover pi as they were building the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2550 BC.

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