March 14th is National Pi Day, the perfect day to celebrate mathematics! If you want to learn more about pi, including its meaning and history, here are some books worth checking out, both for children and adults. Perfect for homeschoolers, or anyone who is fascinated by irrational numbers.
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Pi is a never ending irrational and transcendental number which has been fascinating people for thousands of years. 3.14 is just the start, and after that the number goes on forever. Living books are an excellent way to make school more exciting both for homeschoolers and for children attending school. Reading books about a subject adds excitement and can help take a subject like math from being a drudgery to being a passion.
Books about Pi for Kids
by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan
A clever story about a boy who must use math to save his father from a fierce dragon. The story is amusing and really holds a child’s interest. This book is part of a series of books about Sir Cumference and his math adventures.
by Naila Bokhari
This book has lots of fun activities using pi, like learning about how to estimate it, and relating it to the alphabet. This book is perfect for students in middle school and up. This book would be good for homeschoolers to use to add some fun to math lessons in March.
by Johnny Ball
This book includes lots of mathematical concepts (including pi) and incorporates history into the lessons. It is easy to understand and great for kids as young as 7. The books helps make math exciting instead of boring.
by Eric, Michelle, Jasmine, Mae and Adam Schmidt
This book is designed to help you memorize the first 600 digits of pi, which sounds like a formidable task. The book uses a PAO (Person Action Object) system to help you memorize far more digits than you ever though possible. This book would be fine for children or adults and is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to memorize numbers.
Books about Pi for Adults
by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann
This book tracks the history of pi from pre-historic times until the present day. It is well written and it is quite accessible to all readers, so even if your math studies ended in high school you will be able to enjoy this book.
by David Blatner
This book is a classic, and includes lots of anecdotes about pi and its history. This book has a light hearted tone and includes a bunch of quirky facts about pi along with pop culture references and jokes. It doesn’t take an extensive math background to read and enjoy this book.
by Petr Beckmann
This book combines the history of pi with the history of civilization and shows how the two intertwine. It has a lot of diversions and asides and explains how different societies viewed pi and what we can learn about those societies from their understanding of the number. All in all it is a strange combination of math and history.
by Michael Keith
This book is a unique collection of poetry, stories, puzzles and lots of other literary forms. It is designed so each story or poem is constructed by using words in which the number of letters follows the sequence of pi. This is very strange concept for a book, and I think most people will either love it or hate it!
by Eugenia Cheng
This is a fun and interesting book that explains math using baking concepts, making it accessible to a wide audience. It is less about the number pi and more about category theory, which is a formalized mathematical structure. This book is more about math and less about history than the preceding books.
by Julian Havil
This is a book about all irrational numbers, not just pi. It includes a number of proofs, so it probably doesn’t have as much mass appeal as some of the books above, but it is fascinating and perfect for someone who loves math!
Don’t forget to eat some pie on the 14th and have a Happy 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939… Day!