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Square Pi Day Puzzle

Today I want to share with you this Square Pi Day Puzzle.

Since this next week is spring break, my students and I celebrated an early Pi Day on Friday, March 10th.  Most of the activities we did were my usual “go-to” pi day activities.  We had a contest to see who could memorize the most digits of pi.  We wrote pi-kus (think haiku but with 3 – 1 – 4 syllables in each line).  We searched for our birthdays in the digits of pi.  We watched some pi day themed Youtube videos.  We ate way too many sweets.

This year, though, I found a new idea that I HAD to try!  It all started when a I did a google images search for “pi day puzzle.”  I ran across this “Easy As Pi Puzzle” from MathIsFun.com

The solution to the puzzle notes that the puzzle was created by Stephen Froggatt.

I copied and pasted the puzzle to a Publisher file so I could print two to a page.

Square Pi Day Puzzle

I printed the puzzles on different colors of paper and laminated them using my trusty Scotch laminator.  First, I cut out the pi shapes.

Square Pi Day Puzzle

Then, I cut apart the pi shaped puzzles into the five individual pieces.  Each puzzle went into its own snack sized bag.  I buy these in the biggest box Wal-mart sells.  They come in so useful for all of the activities I create for my classroom!

Square Pi Day Puzzle

As I was cutting out these pieces, I was multi-tasking and reading my e-mail at the same time.

I opened Chris Smith‘s maths newsletter (subscribe by e-mailing Chris at aap03102@gmail.com) and found the very same puzzle!

Square Pi Day Puzzle
Image Source: Chris Smith’s Maths Newsletter

Each student took out their bag to find five pieces.

Square Pi Day Puzzle

I told them that their first challenge was to make a square using all five pieces.  Some students protested that we had already done this before.  I told them we had done a similar puzzle, but this one was different.  If you’re interested in more puzzles like this, I recommend the 1-4-5 Square Challenge.  I also have a tub of tangrams in my room that we use occasionally.

I kinda thought making the square was going to be TOO easy because I was able to put it together on my first try.  But, my students found this to be plenty difficult!  Many of them gave up.

Here is how one of my students interpreted the square challenge:

Square Pi Day Puzzle
Square Pi Day Puzzle
Square Pi Day Puzzle
Square Pi Day Puzzle
Square Pi Day Puzzle

I had many students call me over and ask if something like this counted as a square.

Square Pi Day Puzzle
Square Pi Day Puzzle

Finally someone figures it out!  See, it is possible!

One of my students ended up making an isosceles triangle instead of a square.

The second challenge for students was to take their five pieces and make the pi symbol.

I taped one of my uncut pi symbols on the board so that students could see exactly what the pi symbol was supposed to look like.  When I gave this challenge to my husband, he created a pi-ish symbol, but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Usually my students’ first response on seeing the pi shape was to say that it would be impossible to create using their five pieces.  They didn’t believe me when I told them that I had cut apart that very pi symbol to make their five pieces!

Oh, I guess it is possible!

Square Pi Day Puzzle

This Square Pi Day Puzzle is definitely a keeper!  I’ve written an updated version of this post that includes a jumbo magnetic version and printable instructions.

Free Download of Square Pi Day Puzzle


Square Pi Puzzle (PDF) (2401 downloads)


Square Pi Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (548 downloads)

Want more ideas for celebrating Pi Day? Check out my post of creative Pi Day Ideas.

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not share solutions to the puzzles I feature on my website because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are not google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.

However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.

If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at sarah@mathequalslove.net with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.

Ms. Nored

Thursday 15th of March 2018

We used the Pi-puzzle today. It blew me away that it tooks the kids way longer to make pi than it took them to make the square. :)

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Glad to hear you were able to use it in your classroom!

Anonymous

Wednesday 15th of March 2017

This would be awesome if someone could figure out how to have the finished product a circle instead of a square.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Tuesday 18th of April 2017

That would be SO cool!!!

Nancy in Indiana

Tuesday 14th of March 2017

I love it! Trying to figure out how to sneak it in to German class...

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Friday 24th of March 2017

:)

Unknown

Monday 13th of March 2017

Thank you for posting this! I was looking for activities for my middle school students and this is perfect!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Friday 24th of March 2017

Glad you found it helpful!