BY LEAH LEVY / AJT //
The Greenfield Hebrew Academy celebrated Pi Day on March 14, and although a great time was had by all, there wasn’t a single pastry involved.
In honor of the irrational mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter – and approximated as 3.14 – the fifth and sixth grades at GHA participated in a special program designed by their math teacher, Jennifer Klein. After a week studying the concept of pi and the geometry of the circle, students kicked off the special day by designing their own pi-themed t-shirts, including such gems as “Cutie-Pi” (by Annie Intro) and “Pi-romaniac” (by Gideon Levy).
Then, while sporting their new duds, students rotated among the activity stations their teachers had set up. Sarah Topper, science teacher, presided over a table where students used measuring equipment to determine the diameter of York Peppermint Patties (which then disappeared, seemingly a scientific impossibility).
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Meanwhile, Shari Sokol, who teaches language arts, assisted students in composing “pi-ku” poetry. The poets made use of the haiku form, but the subject was pi all around.
Also, Klein created a color code for each of the numbers 0 to 9, and using this code, fifth graders made a paper-chain representation of pi up to the 1,000th digit, while sixth graders used the code to make pi necklaces of colored beads.
Asked which activity was their favorite, students had many different responses. Bar Stern was proud of her pi-ku (“Pi is on the brain/Pi is on the plate—dessert!/Three-point-one cheese pie”).
Jaren Linowes said that he felt the chain was a really fun way to learn about pi.
“My t-shirt helped, because I decorated it with the first digits of pi, and I could just look down to see what came next,” he said.
Eliana Goldin valued all of the day’s festivities.
“What I thought was really cool,” she said, “was how we took all the different things we’re learning in school and connected it to our pi studies. And I memorized the first nine digits, too.”
Leah Levy is a paraprofessional at GHA and the author of “The Waiting Wall,” a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for 2010.