A traditional half-time treat at many a football game, pupils from a school in Barry, South Wales served up a slice of match day pie with a difference today, in a bid to discover just how much maths affects our everyday lives.
As Pi Day Cymru swept the nation, the pupils kicked off the annual maths celebrations by challenging Cardiff City FC players Ben Wilson and Tom Lawrence a ‘Pi-less’ match using giant cube-shaped footballs.
The unusual twist on the game, which also featured goalposts shaped like the pi symbol, gave the students insight into what one of the world’s most popular sports would be like if a Welshman hadn’t coined and championed pi.
Pi Day Cymru has become a widely recognised event in the maths calendar, thanks to its deep roots in Welsh history. Wales has a unique claim to the maths phenomenon that started in 1706 when William Jones from Anglesey was the first person to use the Greek letter π or pi to represent the mathematical constant which allows us to measure the circumference and area of circles.
Knowing that so many of our young learners have been out putting Pi into action in honour of such an ingenious and mathematically talented forefather is not only heartening, it is also critically important in inspiring the next generation to break new ground in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering
Twelve-year-old Ella Forsyth, a Year 8 pupil from Bryn Hafren, said of the day: “I hadn’t realised just how much we use Pi every day. It was actually really difficult trying to play football with square balls, and it just shows how different life would be if we didn’t have pi!”
Pi Day Cymru has seen people of all ages celebrate uses of maths in everyday life. Elsewhere in Wales, pupils at Ysgol Friars in Bangor held a Pi in the Sky planetarium event to study uses of pi in space, and pupils in Port Talbot’s Glan Afan comprehensive took part in giant calculations of shapes and objects within their own schoolgrounds.
Pi Day Cymru was the brainchild of Professor Gareth Fffowc Roberts, Emeritus Professor at Bangor University, who last year received the backing of the Welsh Government to establish the date as an official day of national celebration in Wales.
After the success of the first ever Pi Day Cymru last year, the addition to the maths calendar has taken the country by storm this year too.
Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis, who launched this year’s campaign, said: “As a nation so steeped in the history of Pi, the need to ensure future generations are made aware of and inspired by its power is very real. Knowing that so many of our young learners have been out putting Pi into action in honour of such an ingenious and mathematically talented forefather is not only heartening, it is also critically important in inspiring the next generation to break new ground in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.”