Grange maths celebration was ‘Pi in the Sky’

Grange Academy’s award winning maths teacher Chris Smith has led celebration activities to mark Pi Day on 14 March 2019.

Each year, on the same day, Maths fans across the world celebrate the number Pi – a number is used in mathematics to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter

Pi Day is depicted as 3.14 and this is also how 14 March is shown in the American calendar. In a rather strange coincidence, 14 March is also the anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birth, as well as the date of Professor Stephen Hawking’s death.

Leading this year’s Pi Day celebrations Grange Academy’s maths teacher (and Scottish Teacher of the Year) Chris Smith decided to try something completely different.

He explained excitedly: “Recent years have seen us create spectacular PiDay tributes in the form of Pi-rotechnics (digits formed using blowtorches), Pi-drotherapy (distributions of digits with coloured water) and musical masterpieces (like the infamous PiMCA).

“But our effort this year was easily our most ambitious stunt to date.

“It involved 432 pupils arranged with military precision in grid formation simultaneously displaying A2 cards which resulted in an image of the first 314 digits of Pi – which was then filmed and photographed from the sky with a drone – literally Pi in the Sky!”

Taking account of the weather and possible disruption from Storm Gareth, the sheets being held aloft by the human canvas were laminated to afford some protection from the rain – in effect becoming number-ellas.

The drone pilots were Calum Gilchrist from the Technical Department and S4 pupil Lewis Hanvey who captured the aerial images of the latest phenomenal Grange Mathematical art as a homage to the irrational constant.

Mr Smith added: “This latest PiDay activity obviously would have been impossible without the cooperation of literally hundreds of enthusiastic pupils and the rest of the Maths Department for their invaluable supervision, patience and understanding.

“In addition, I’m really grateful to our team who laminated hundreds of sheets of card and the expert skills of drone pilots Mr Gilchrist and Lewis.

“The fantastic willingness across the whole school to make this latest Pi dream a reality has literally left me Pi-eyed with gratitude!”