Sandia LabNews

Pi Day serves up fun for local students, families

Pi Day serves up fun for local students, families

There was not a more perfect date for Sandia to host a Family Math Night than March 14 at Tomasita Elementary School.

Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant Pi, represented by the Greek letter π, and is observed March 14 since 3, 1 and 4 are the first three significant digits.

Sandia’s Community Relations team has been sponsoring Family Math Night at local schools since 2010, when computational scientist Steve Plimpton volunteered to run the program. It was developed to complement Sandia’s already-established Family Science Night. The program has two primary goals:

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MOTHER AND DAUGHTER — Second grader Ariel Jaskolski and her mother work together on an activity, March 14. Ariel said she loves math and science and was excited her mom was able bring her to the event at Tomasita Elementary School.

to stimulate excitement and interest in math among elementary school children and their parents and families, and: to involve parents and families in the educational process.

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The program initially was offered twice a month, Steve said, but is now held each Wednesday night during the school year thanks to Sandia volunteers John Mitchell, Brenna Hautzenroeder, Karen Devine and Melissa Benavidez.

“Sandia promotes family evenings because it gives parents and kids an opportunity to discover together that math and science are everywhere, affect everything in their lives and can be fun and challenging,” said Community Involvement Manager Amy Tapia.

Sandia provides all materials and instruction, which include hands-on math games and puzzles that require children and their families to work together to solve simple, inquiry-based problems. The activities and games come from the Family Math program developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California, for elementary school age children.

Sandia will sponsor 35 Family Math Night events during the 2017-2018 school year at no cost to the schools.

Steve said, “As long as we have volunteers willing to participate and schools willing to host, my hope is that this great program will continue to be offered for years to come.”

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TWINS — Oliver and Jasper Wissing challenge each other with a dice game during Family Math Night at Tomasita Elementary School, March 14. The boys, in third grade, said they “love numbers.”
Student getting help from Sandia volunteer

GETTING HELP — Sandia scientist John Mitchell helps a Tomasita Elementary School student with an activity using palindromes while her mother looks on during a Family Math Night, March 14. Mitchell began volunteering shortly after the launch of the Sandia-sponsored community involvement event and says he is happy with the increase in families attending over the years.