Saturday, March 14, 2015


Last night, as the kids ate dumplings and sushi and sate (ordered in) at the kitchen counter, because my husband was away at the NJ Regional Science Fair, I told them that today was going to be Pi Day.  We would have pie for breakfast, and pie for dinner, and maybe even pie for lunch.  Because: pie.  Do you really need an excuse?

via flickr user Alex Cockroach under Creative Commons license
We have a whiteboard in our kitchen, mostly where we hang the calendar (now that refrigerators are no longer magnetic) and where I write down the menu for the week, but also where we scribble math problems and words and diagrams when we're trying to explain something.  My son and husband in particular love this, and will leave their problems up on the board until the dry erase marker becomes part of the whiteboard, and I have to scrub the thing with alcohol.  (Type A, remember?)  But I confess, it does come in pretty handy.

I asked my son if he knew what pi was.  He said yes, it was a number.  I agreed that was partially right, but that it was even more magical than that.  I drew a circle, and he correctly identified both the circumference and the diameter (things I don't know if I knew when I was in third grade); I explained the pi was the ratio of the circle's circumference to its diameter ... that no matter how big or how small the circle was, you'd always get the same number, and that it goes on forever without an identifiable repeating pattern in the decimal: irrational and transcendental.  Pi helps us to describe every process, every cycle that repeats.  Pi explains waves.  Pi is the universe sticking its tongue out at us, refusing to be calculated in some way that we can pin down, but also bringing us ever closer to its understanding.

"Isn't that cool?" I said, waving my marker.

"Whoa, cool," agreed I. and N.

I wouldn't consider myself a math geek.  But pi reminds me that math is pretty amazing, that part of its beauty lies in its enigmatic nature.  I hope that I can instill some of that wonder in my kids, even if I've used it as an excuse to eat pi, or pie, for breakfast.

What's your favorite pie?  Are you a math geek?
Pin It


  1. Happy pi day!! Not a math geek though I enjoyed my math classes (wish I had taken Calculus 3).

    Favorite pie: depends on the season and weather. Craving apple at the moment

  2. I think N is fortunate to have a mom who makes him pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner and who gets excited about transcendental numbers. I could easily live with you!

    (Not sure about the vice versa part.)

  3. I love all pie! not a math geek but I do enjoy patterns and I factor numbers in my head all the time.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...