Welcome to Somerville Mathematics

Welcome to Somerville Mathematics, a blog devoted to exciting mathematical things happening in Somerville MA. I am the founder of The Somerville Mathematics Fund, www.Somervillemathematicsfund.org
The Math Fund was chartered to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville. I hope you will check out my TEDxSomerville talk on the Somerville Math Fund,
I find that there are many other interesting things happening mathematically in Somerville and I hope on this blog to have others share what they are doing. So please contact me at mathfund@gmail.com if you would like to contribute an article.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pizza, then Pi and finally Pies — What More Can You Want on a Well-Rounded Pi Day?

Estimating how far a bike wheel will roll in 2.5 revolutions.

Monday, March 14 is Pi Day (3.14) -- but not just any π day, it was a Well-Rounded π Day because it is 2016:  3.14.16!  3.159… rounds off to 3.16.  What better excuse is there to have a celebration of math with middle schoolers than π?     
Drawing a circle using an inscribed triangle in a circle.

Last Friday night, well over 250 students, parents, teachers, and volunteers  from the high school, PTA and community, celebrated π  at the East Somerville Community School by eating pizza for dinner, then spending an evening estimating, creating, collecting data, answering questions, and ending with pies for everyone. 
Pitching pennies to determine which is a more challenging target
the circle in a square or the square in a circle.

After enjoying pizza donated by the Bickoff family of the Commercial Cleaning Service (discounted by White Sport), the students from ESCS, who were joined by students from Healey, Argenziano, West Somerville, and Brown schools went around to a wide variety of math activities set up in the gym.  
Making Pi Buttons

These activities included: bicycle wheel roll, guessing contest, tooth pick drop (Buffon Needle problem), drawing a circle the size of a CD, mystery boxes, π button design, π facts quiz, birthday in π, circle in square vs square in circle, drawing cardioid or nephroid, drawing concentric circles by folding, drawing circles by tangents, drawing circle by right angles, predicting how high of a pour, graphing circumference vs diameter, predicting circumferences in mm by feel of objects in mystery boxes, and predicting volume in cubic cm. of various spheres.
Drawing a circle using tangents.

The event was planned by Scott Weaver (ESCS), Wil Jacques (Healey), and Erica Voolich (Somerville Mathematics Fund).  Table Talk Pies of Worcester generously supplied small pies for all who came that night and large pies for the winners of events.  Table Talk has generously supported this Somerville Math Fund event for thirteen years. 
Tossing toothpicks to calculate pi using Buffon's Needle formula.

When planning the first SMF π Night in 2003, the Math Fund called the Table Talk Pi Company and explained what π day was and Table Talk generously donated large pies for prizes and small pies for everyone.  Thirteen years later, Table Talk Pies is not only still donating to the the Somerville Pi night celebration, but to many more celebrations.   In fact, this year Table Talk donated than 47,242 pies to schools and organizations celebrating pi day.
Taking a quiz on Pi Facts.

A big thank you to all the volunteers and donors who made this fun, educational evening possible.  It takes a community to celebrate π day!
Graphing circumference vs diameter using various sized circles.
Drawing circles using inscribed triangles.

The Somerville Mathematics Fund, was founded in 2000 with the mission to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville MA.  In April they will be looking for applications for renewable college mathematics scholarships.  For more information or to make a donation or to volunteer, www.somervillemathematicsfund.org or mathfund@gmail.com or call 617-666-0666.
Drawing cardioids and nephroids using lines.

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2016