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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pizza, then Pi, and finally Pies —A Great way to Celebrate a Transcendental Number -- A Somerville Tradition!

Thursday, March 14 is Pi Day (3.14).  What better excuse is there to have a celebration of math with middle schoolers than π?     On Pi Day, well over 250 students, parents, teachers, and volunteers from the high school, PTA and community celebrated π  at the Healey School by eating pizza for dinner then spending an evening estimating, creating, collecting data, answering questions, and ending with pies for everyone.
Drawing a nephroid with straight lines

After enjoying pizza donated by the Bickoff family of the Commercial Cleaning Service (discounted by White Sport), the students from the students from the Healey School, who were joined by students from East Somerville, Argenziano, Winter Hill and Kennedy Schools, went around to a wide variety of math activities set up in the gym.
Pitching pennies to determine which is a better challenge,
a square in a circle or a circle in a square

These activities included: bicycle wheel roll, guessing contest, tooth pick drop (Buffon’s 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, graphing circumference vs diameter, and predicting circumferences in mm by feel of objects in mystery boxes.
Drawing a circle using a right angle

The event was planned by Wil Jacques (Healey), Scott Weaver (ESCS), Jen Rodriguez (Argenziano) and Erica Voolich (Somerville Mathematics Fund).  Teachers at the Somerville High School recruited volunteers to help run the events they may have experienced themselves years before.  Some members of the Delta Tau Delta (Tufts) chapter joined community volunteers.
Graphing circumference vs radius of various round objects.

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 fifteen years.
Estimating the circumference of various round objects in and around the room.

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.
One of the winners of one of the many Pi math activities
Sixteen years later, Table Talk Pies is not only still donating to the Somerville Pi night celebration, but to many more celebrations.   This year Table Talk donated about 70,000 pies to schools and organizations celebrating pi day.
Making Pi Buttons.

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!
Pitching toothpicks to calculate Pi

The Somerville Mathematics Fund, was founded in 2000 with the mission to celebrate and encourage mathematics achievement in Somerville, MA.  They also award renewable college mathematics scholarships; applications will be due in early April.  For more information, to make a donation, or to volunteer, visit www.somervillemathematicsfund.org or mathfund@gmail.com or call 617-666-0666.
Rolling the bike wheel to see who estimated correctly
how far it would travel in  one and one half revolutions.

The link to this site is https://somervillemathematics.blogspot.com/2019/03/pizza-then-pi-and-finally-pies-great.html
©Erica Dakin Voolich 2019

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