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.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.
I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.
I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!
First, I cut out the pi shapes.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) and found the very same puzzle!
Each student took out their bag to find five pieces.
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:
I had many students call me over and ask if something like this counted as a square.
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!
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
Want more ideas for celebrating Pi Day? Check out my post of creative Pi Day Ideas.
I intentionally do not make answers to the printable math puzzles I share on my blog available online because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are non-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 email@example.com with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.
More Pi Day Activities
- 3-1-4 Pi Day Number Challenge
- Pi Puzzle for Pi Day
- Pentominoes Pi Symbol Puzzle
- Pi ku Poetry: Writing Pi Day Poems
- Pi Day Dice Challenge
- Ultimate Guide to Celebrating Pi Day
- Square Pi Puzzle
- Square Pi Day Puzzle
- Pi Clock Poster
- Pi Day Videos
- Seeing Pi Activity
- Pi Birthday Search Activity
- Pi Day Songs
- Tossing Pi Activity
- Cutting Pi Discovery Activity
- Pi Memorization Contest