It only happens once every 100 years, and it’s over in the briefest of seconds.
On the morning of March 14 at 9:26 and 53 seconds, the first 10 digits of the mathematical constant pi will be in perfect alignment with a moment in time: 3.141592653. (Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.) This year, it’s been dubbed Ultimate Pi Day, and t-shirt vendors, sign makers and bakers everywhere are capitalizing on this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Of course, some would say pi perfection occurred in 1592, when the numbers truly were in alignment (and not marred by the century designation). Others would also extend the digits to the 10th or 1,000th of a second and beyond, but really, who could mark such a mere blip in time with any kind of meaningful celebration?
Pi Day provides an opportunity to read with children about something new or interesting. After all, once you’ve gotten your math fix from pi, you can move to reading in honor of March being National Reading Month.
Here are five things to read about in March:
- Pi. You can learn more about this number, such as why it’s called pi and 28 facts about pi that you probably didn’t know.
- Pie. Sort-of freaky fact: look at 3.14 in the mirror. What does it say? PIE (or PI.E, as it were), making March a good time to learn about pie. We turned to the American Pie Council for some fun pie facts. Did you know pie was banned in England in the 17th century? Oliver Cromwell deemed it a “pagan form of pleasure,” according to the council. The ban lasted for 16 years, until Restoration leaders restored their senses and tastefully ended pie prohibition in 1660. Learn more about the history of pies and more fun pie facts.
- Ireland. Much of the world turns green on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day. As the patron Saint of Ireland, Patrick is mistakenly credited with introducing Christianity in that country. Whatever the case, the holiday is a fun time to learn about Ireland. Check out Science Kids Fun Facts About Ireland. Learn about a day in the life of a kid in Ireland at Time For Kids. Just beware: Sometimes a mischievous leprechaun can play tricks around the house in honor of this day. (For ideas on how to entice the leprechaun to your home, check out Leprechaun Visit Ideas.
- Basketball. It’s March Madness! What better time to learn about this sport and the colleges that play in the NCAA tournament? Check out our story, March is Mad About Reading for more activity ideas.
- Spring. Finally. Following the winter of all winters in recent memory, the advent of spring on Friday, March 20, gives perfect reason to celebrate and learn. This year’s Spring Equinox marks another rarity for some folks around the world: A total solar eclipse will occur. (You can learn how infrequently this happens at EarthSky.org. Unfortunately, this year’s total eclipse won’t be visible from New York state, but you can learn more about the occurrence at UniverseToday.com. Find out what causes an eclipse. Another fun family activity? Watch the March 20 eclipse online and find out when other eclipses will be visible in New York this year.
Countless studies have touted the benefits of reading with your children. Learning together takes that activity to a whole new level. Of course, reading while eat pie isn’t so bad either.