News

Maths day all adds up to Pi - like Grandma used to make it

Eva McKinnon, aged 13 from St. John's College Woodlawn with a pie for Pie Day. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Eva McKinnon, aged 13 from St. John's College Woodlawn with a pie for Pie Day. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

PIES to celebrate Pi Day. That's what's on the menu for mathematics students at St John's College Woodlawn.

It may seem like an obscure topic, but the Pi Day celebration is steadily multiplying and gaining momentum around the world as an international day to recognise the importance of mathematics.

St John's College Woodlawn mathematics co-ordinator Brad Ryall said Pi Day was a good opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of mathematics in developing students' problem-solving abilities.

"It gives them a set of skills they can solve problems with, and problem solving is the thing that employers and society wants, rather than people who can regurgitate or recite information," he said.

"That used to be the case sort of 20 years ago - if you remembered it you knew it - but now we can find it so easily because all the information's at our fingertips."

Mr Ryall said the focus of teaching had shifted from content learning to problem-solving skills.

Something like 60% of the jobs these kids are going to do haven't even been invented yet, so it's very hard to give them the skills they need for the jobs because we don't even know what jobs they need

Aydin Neighbours, aged 10 from St. John's College Woodlawn with fellow math students and a selection of pies for Pie Day. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Aydin Neighbours, aged 10 from St. John's College Woodlawn with fellow math students and a selection of pies for Pie Day. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

"Something like 60% of the jobs these kids are going to do haven't even been invented yet, so it's very hard to give them the skills they need for the jobs because we don't even know what jobs they need," he said.

Aydin Neighbour is the youngest student in Mr Ryall's accelerated maths class and said the subject was important because every job required some mathematics.

Kelly Gibney, 14, took out the class Pi prize with his recital from memory of pi's first 50 decimal place figures.

For those whose school maths is a little rusty, pi is the mathematical constant (3.1415...) used to find the area and circumference of a circle.

Seven things you didn't know about pi

  1. Pi Day is held on March 14 because the date 3/14 is the first three digits of pi.
  2. Pi is the most recognized mathematical constant in the world.
  3. In the Star Trek episode Wolf in the Fold, Spock foils the evil computer by commanding it to "compute to last digit the value of pi".
  4. The symbol for pi has been used regularly for the past 250 years.
  5. We can never truly measure the circumference or the area of a circle because we can never truly know the value of pi.
  6. In 2002, a Japanese scientist found 1.24 trillion digits of pi using a powerful computer called the Hitachi SR 8000, breaking all previous records
  7. One of the earliest known records of pi was written by an Egyptian scribe named Ahmes (c1650 BC) on what is now known as the Rhind Papyrus. He was off by less than 1% of the modern approximation of pi.

Topics:  mathematics




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

How this scam victim tricked her phone fraudster

Lismore resident Janet Wetzler was almost the victim of a phone scam and wants to use her experience to warm others.

Listen to frausters try to scam Lismore woman

Lismore hospital car park set to open on Monday

Project Director with NSW Health Infrastructure Justin Barrett, and Woollam Constructions NSW Regional Manager Ben Cummins at the new Lismore Base Hospital carpark.

Extra 270 car parking spaces for the hospital precinct

Richmond electorate: Meet the candidates

Justine Elliot is the Labor candidate for Richmond.

Meet the candidates for the federal seat of Richmond

Latest deals and offers

Preview of $10 million Lismore office block

Bennett Construction director Darryl Piper discusses work on the new four-storey...

Hey Mumma - Working mums vs fulltime mums

Working mums vs full time mums

Hey Mumma - Working mums vs fulltime mums

Clive Palmer to re-open refinery

Clive Palmer on ABC radio.

Clive Palmer talks about his achievements, election chances and re-opening the...

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?