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5/5/2014 3:24:00 PM
On day dedicated to Pi, students revel in math
St. James School photo
More than 175 local Catholic school fifth grade students investigate math’s mysterious number, Pi, by measuring dimensions of circles and hoops.
St. James School photo
More than 175 local Catholic school fifth grade students investigate math’s mysterious number, Pi, by measuring dimensions of circles and hoops.

MCMINNVILLE — St. James School here is congratulating students, teachers and chaperones who participated in the Third Annual Pi Day Celebration. More than 200 math enthusiasts from six Catholic schools gathered at St. James on March 14 (3/14) to support and encourage a math field day honoring the number which starts 3.14159 and goes on infinitely. About 175 fifth-graders were the focus of the day’s activities. The math students came from St. Anthony in Tigard, St. Agatha in Portland, St. Francis in Sherwood, Visitation in Forest Grove and St. Francis of Assisi in Roy. The Linfield College Math Department also sent a math major as an emissary to share in the celebration and act as a guest observer.

After a brief welcome by Jeananne Bloudek, St. James principal, teams of students rotated through activity stations which included various mathematical challenges. Circles were measured, hoops rolled, toothpicks dropped on a measured grid: all involving different methods of discovering and enjoying the mystical number Pi, the number describing the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter. Students also learned how to write their names using the Greek alphabet (homage to Archimedes), sang festive Pi Day songs, and competed in Mad Minute Multiplication Throwdowns (60 multiplication problems on one page to be completed in one minute). Father Kelly Vandehey, pastor of St. James, greeted participants and offered the blessing for lunch — circular pizzas and pies, of course. A school vs. school math trivia competition and community Pi Day sing-along completed the day’s activities.

The day is organized by fifth grade teacher Gus Pappelis.

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