Monday, March 13, 2017

March 14 - National Pi Day

Well, of course we are going to make (and eat!) pie, but first let's take a look at some


Starting with a board book:

Apple Pie ABC

A is for Apple pie...Bake it...Cool it...Dish it out! Follow the alphabet through to dreaming about it...ZZZZZZZ. Not just for the babies! Ask your kids to predict what the next letters will stand for before you turn the page. Bright, expressive illustrations. It even has its own web site, with a few fun printables.


These are the apples, juicy and red, 
 that went in the pie, 
 warm and sweet, 
 that Papa baked... 
 for guess who!

A fun way to look at the steps to making a pie - or anything else!

Extension: Pick something else your children are familiar with doing - the laundry, washing the car, etc. - and see how far back you can take the steps. Write and illustrate your own book about "The Blanket Fort that Grace Made".


One day little Samuel wakes up with a big appetite. After eating cereal, milkshakes, pancakes, and a fried chicken, he's still hungry--so he enters a pie-eating contest in the park. His competition? Three big men! The pies? One apple, two peach, and three cherry. And the winner? Samuel! But before he can show his Prize Pie to his mother, she proudly shows off the lovely pie that she's made him for lunch! Luckily, Samuel's younger brother turns out to have an even larger appetite than his sibling . . . and a love of pies, too!

No one can beat Robert Munsch for kid-pleasing silliness. How many pies do you think you could eat? This might not be one we want to try out at home...

* Fractions are another automatic thought when we think of pies. All you need are some plain old circle shapes (but you can decorate them to look like different kinds of pies if you are so inclined!) Cut them into halves, thirds, fourths, etc. Practice counting how many pieces each set needs to make a whole, and talk about what they are called, and how we write them.

Compare pieces from different pies - which is bigger, a half or a third? Why is that, when 3 is bigger than 2? Are two thirds bigger than a half? What about two fourths?  

* This is also a good day to introduce (or reinforce) pie graphs. Conduct an on-the-spot poll of your friends online, asking what everyone's favorite type of pie is, practice making and counting tally marks,

and turn the results into a pie graph!

We decided to combine french silk and chocolate.

* Enough about pie, what about pi? Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
ratio - proportion, correlation, comparative number. The ratio of boys to girls in our house is 4 to 3.
circumference - distance around the circle
diameter - distance from edge to edge across a circle's middle.

It is basically 22 divided by 7. Usually when we use long division, we come to a point where there aren't any remainders. This will never happen with pi - try it! Then talk about rounding off, and be thankful that is a 'thing'. How many digits of pi can you memorize, anyway?


* The pi symbol is pretty easy to draw. Can you 'fancy it up'  bit? Do a Google image search for "pi symbol" and scope out some of the plays on words. 

* The final link on this page has some ideas for the older crowd, but for the younger I would focus on circles, emphasizing circumference and diameter. For this we will need a compass, my kids' latest favorite toy (and useful in making the above pie chart)!

Use the compass to trace a circle with a large circumference on your paper:

Realize later that you should have darkened it before photographing.

then add overlapping circles of smaller sizes inside:

and, finally, color in each resulting space with a different color or pattern:

Pretty cool-looking! Think we could sell it online?


Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner
Eating a Christmas pie.
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said, 'What a good boy am I!"

WHY would he stick his thumb in his pie? How does that make him a good boy? Why was he sitting in the corner to eat it, anyway? Was he actually hiding in the corner because he snitched it? Questions that really must be answered... 

(Oh, and if you do a search on Christmas pies, they contained prunes, not plums, and while prunes are dried plums, yes, I don't know how you would easily get your thumb to stick in one. Somebody really needs to keep a better eye on Jack.)


Well, OBVIOUSLY we need to make a pie, but after seeing my Facebook feed blow up over the best types of pie, I think I will leave the actual filling to you. Let's talk crust! 

Now, I am more than happy to use store-bought crusts myself (blasphemy, I know), but I DO think everyone should know how to make a basic crust from scratch. My main problem with that is finding the space to roll it out in my tiny kitchen, but if you have the space:

Whisk together: 1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Cut in 1/2 cup cold butter or shortening, cut into pieces (if you don't have a pastry blender to cut it in, use two butter knives, criss-crossing them over and over. It works, it just takes longer!)

Sprinkle 3 T water over top and mix in with a fork. Form dough into a ball and chill half an hour or more.

Turn onto floured surface and roll thin. Figure out the diameter of your pie pan, add 2-4 inches (depending on how deep your pan is), and cut out a circle that size to go inside. You can cut another circle for the top, or strips to weave as a lattice crust, or pretty leaf shapes if you want to get fancy! 

Add your filling of choice, and cook as is appropriate for that pie.


Is anyone having a bake sale that you could contribute a pie to? Or, could you go into the short-term pie baking business to raise money for a worthy cause? Figure out how much the basic ingredients of different pies would cost you, and decide how much you would need to charge in order to make a profit. Make sure you check on local food selling laws first!

Other Web Sites to Explore

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