Monday, March 16, 2015

Pi Day Celebration, National Cryptologic Museum

The National Cryptologic Museum hosted a Pi Day (March 14th which is close enough to 3.14) celebration and we couldn't resist going. The museum is rather plain on the outside but wonderful inside, full of all sorts of coding and decoding machines and other displays.

National Cryptologic Museum

On the way to the Pi Day room

One room had a wide variety of Pi-related crafts. If kids completed all the crafts, they'd get a special prize. L jumped in with full enthusiasm. She made a Pi bracelet with beads standing for the numbers in Pi.

L almost ready to craft

Another station had kids coloring a pie with the Pi symbol on it. L colored in the dessert and made the background blue, making it Pie in the Sky!

Pie coloring

Other tables used measuring for practical applications of Pi. At one, the fellow measured the circumference of L's head and then calculated the size of hat she would wear (which is measured by the distance from ear to ear straight through the head). Her hat size was 6 3/8 inches. We'll let industrious readers reverse the math (circumference divided by Pi equals diameter) to find out how big L's head is around.

At another table L measured the rim of a coffee cup with a string. She cut the string to have a piece equal to the circumference. She then cut the string when into pieces using the diameter of the cup, i.e. across the top of the cup. She got three pieces of string, the last one a little longer than the others, representing 3.1415etc.!

Pi cup trick

A different table compared the circumference of a tennis ball can to the length of the can. With three balls in the can, the length is very close to the circumference!

Pi tennis trick

A less clear demonstration of Pi was the toothpick table. Kids took forty toothpicks and scattered them over a large sheet of paper with lines on it. The lines were spaced one toothpick length apart, with each line as thick as a toothpick. After dropping, the kids took any toothpicks that didn't land on or across a line. L and another boy gathered twenty-one toothpicks. The lady did some formula and came up with the number 2.96, which is close to Pi. They had a chart on the wall of the different results throughout the day. Most were slightly below three but all in the 2.8 to 3.2 range.

Don't try this at home (because I don't remember the formula, so it won't work)

They had a story time with a reading of Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, which was a fun fable. N was a bit fussy so I was not able to pay attention. L assures me it was fun. While we listened, J and Mommy did the scavenger hunt through the museum. It was lucky we divided our forces because the event almost ended before we were able to finish!

Pi Day swag

Back at home, we enjoyed some sweet potato pie as a fine end to our celebration of Pi Day in 2015.

Easy way to find the diameter

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