The Great Chain of Pi
(Teaching Colors & Numbers, Even & Odd, Decimal Point & Randomness of Pi)

Build a pi chain with loops of construction paper, each digit represented by a different color. Some student projects have build pi chains thousands of loops long.


(1) Assign a color to each of the ten digits (0-9) and then build a color/number key to post in the classroom.

(2) Have an official “pi reader” call out the numbers as you assemble the chain.

(3) Build the color key by asking students to choose their favorite color, and then assign that color to a number based upon the last digit of the student’s birthday or month of birth. Query the class until all ten digits are assigned.

(4) You may want to also teach about even and odd numbers. Divide the class into two teams, one working with the five even digits for the pi chain and the other with the five odd digits. Students can split based upon their birthday, either the ending digit even or odd of their day-of-birth, or month-of-birth. Or they can split based upon whether their first or last name has an even or odd number of letters.

(5) When building the chain, choose a very special 11th color (perhaps foil paper) to represent the decimal point and discuss its concept.