Foothills hosts unique celebration of the Life of Pi
Education: Pie eating contests and fun helps promote math
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
Just about the only thing a Foothills Composite High School math whiz can do faster than eat pie is figure out how much pie he actually ate.
Caleb Wiebe, a Grade 12 student at Foothills, woofed down three pies in three minutes and 14 seconds during Pi Day festivities at the school on March 14 to win the school’s pie-eating contest.
“Its 2pR squared times height so it 32Pi grams, — that’s about 100.5 grams per pie,” Wiebe said without using a calculator. “I like math. It clicks for me — not like english or social.
“Pi (3.14) is the magic number — I haven’t thought about it, but I know it is relatively important. I plan to go into engineering so I am looking forward to learning more about it.”
The lean Wiebe had eating pies down to a science and unlike many of his competitors, he used cutlery.
“I cut up each pie into four separate pieces off the bat and scooped up each section,” said the five-foot-11, 155-pound Wiebe. “The guy next to me was using his hands, so I was a little worried. The apple pie was the easiest. I had two of those. The berry was tough, but I just went at it.”
Wiebe wasn’t the only student interested in the fascinating life of p, which is like the movie “The Hobbit” — it goes on forever. Grade 11 student Josh Brauner recited the magical number to 150 decimal places.
Brauner became fascinated with p, ironically by daydreaming in math class.
“I was bored in a Grade 7 class and a teacher had a poster of p in the classroom with all these numbers,” said Brauner, who is taking Advanced Placement Math. “I just decided I should memorize it.”
He is looking forward to delving further into p when he takes Math 31 in Grade 12.
“I haven’t taken calculus yet but I looked at the textbook and so far studying limits looks pretty fun,” Brauner said. “It’s fun to a math guy that is.”
Celebrating Pi Day was an effort to promote math to those students who aren’t quite as enthused as Brauner and Wiebe — the kind of student who defines the hypotenuse as someone using the upstairs bathroom.
“We are trying to show students that math isn’t the boogeyman,” said Foothills Composite math teacher Chris Ginakos. “A lot of the times kids repress math. We want to have some fun with the subject.
“It is a selfish thing because I love the subject matter and I want kids to embrace math.”
Pi Day is held on March 14 — 3-14 — every year. Coincidentally, it is the birth date of Albert Einstein, who relatively speaking, is considered the greatest mathematician of all time.