Life of Pi, mathematically speaking

Pi - the irrational, nevertheless mathematical, constant and “celebrity number” (as Alex Bellows puts it) is an intriguing & insπring number that has enthralled mathematicians for centuries.
How can I show this to the uninitiated?
 
Wikipedia has a beautiful image for this. Today i.e. 14th March (3.14) is Pi's birthday!
 Not exactly, but yes, approximately! So...what is it that is so special about Pi?

The Wikipedia entry on it says...

Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a common fraction, although fractions such as 22/7 and other rational numbers are commonly used to approximate π. Consequently its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern

Buffon's Needle & Pi: Can dropping needles from a height throw some light on this celebrity number? Check out this activity from www.Mathsisfun.com. All you need is some needles and some paper. This is a fun activity that any middle school student would love to do. Let it stay secret that by dropping needles they can actually approximate the value of pi. Allow the students to discover this themselves and go 'Wow!’

 

 

For a little bit of history (& also the significant Indian contribution to Pi) watch this 2 minute clip from the celebrated BBC series The Story of Math.

 

Click the image below to find out how Archimedes has approximated pi. This one is for senior school learners who will appreciate the beauty & simplicity of this approximation.

 

Arvind Gupta has a simple model to show the beauty of pi. For more activities on pi, also check out this wonderful compilation at Exploratorium.

 

Yes, 14th March, this year, 9am 26min 53 seconds does represent 3.141592653 upto 9 decimal places! Let us mark this by playing the never ending Pi song

All around the world, there is "memorizing Pi" content. But do scientists really care? Well, this SMBC comic sums that up.  Google has many doodles related to Pi. There’s one they released on Ramanujan's 125th birthday and another on Leonard Euler's birthday.

And lastly, let the curious one among the learners of your class argue successfully that this year's Pi Day is not the Pi Day “of the Century” as claimed!

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