WEST CHESTER — Students in the West Chester Area School District (WCASD) spent Friday celebrating Pi – not the kind you consume, rather, the kind you compute.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and is always the same number (commonly approximated as 3.14159) regardless of the circle you use to compute it. Pi Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated on March 14 every year because the first three digits of Pi correspond directly with the date. Pi Day is especially special this year because the first ten digits of Pi, 3.141592653, will match the actual month, date, year, hour, minute, and second (twice) on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m. This is the first time this has happened in 100 years, and it won’t happen again for another 100 years.

However, since Pi Day falls on a Saturday when students are at home and not in the classroom, the celebration of the day a century in the making had to take place one day early. Peirce Middle School math teacher and self-proclaimed mathlete Megan Hoopes-Meyers coordinated a number of Pi-centric lessons and activities on Friday, March 13 to uniquely teach students more about Pi and to help prepare them for a once in a lifetime event. “I want my students to understand that Pi is one of the most famous and most remarkable numbers they will ever meet,” said Hoopes-Meyers. In addition to learning about Pi, the students ate pie – as well as a number of other circular snacks that included cupcakes, cookies, and pizza. However, before the students could enjoy their round refreshments, they had to first measure their radius and calculate their circumference, area, surface area, and volume.

“Pi Day provides mathematicians with a special opportunity to put a spotlight on the beauty of numbers, and to share how numbers help us make sense of the world around us,” said Ian Kerr, WCASD Supervisor of Mathematics, Business Education, and Computer Science. “We celebrate Pi on March 14, but the day also functions as an occasion to celebrate our passion for all things mathematical.”