Iowa math lovers will celebrate “Super Pi Day” this weekend, but it’s not the kind of pie you can eat. The mathematical term “pi” refers to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter in a never-ending decimal that starts with 3.14.
Jeanne Giles, owner and director of the Mathnasium in Cedar Rapids, says it’ll be a big party at the open house on Saturday. “We’ve got hat stations, we’ve got some pythons — fake snakes — to reiterate what pi is, we’ve got circumference book reading stations, hulahoops, pi memorizing, fortune tellers, pizza and, of course, pie,” Giles says. “All sorts of celebrating everything round.”
Every March 14th is considered Pi Day, but she says this year, it’s Super Pi Day. “Not only is it March 14th, 3.14, we are in 2015, so it’s 3.1415 and it goes even further than that,” Giles says. “This is the year we can get ten digits in there with 3.1415 and at 9:26 in the morning and 53 seconds.”
Some of the students who attend the Mathnasium celebrate being able to carry pi out to multiple decimal points, well beyond 3.14. “We are trying to bring beauty to being a nerd,” Giles says. “There’s a lot of fun going along the lines of how nerds will be the boss some day so we want to celebrate that it’s okay to be a nerd and it’s fun to be a nerd.”
Mathnasium is a year-round, after-school math learning center for second grade through algebra two and precalculus. “We look for any occasion to celebrate math, to help kids find the joy in math,” Giles says. “We want to help them not only get better at math but to actually see the beauty of math.”
Giles has a degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Iowa and spent 25 years working in the insurance industry, before opening Mathnasium in Cedar Rapids last year.