Photo of the Day, March 14: Holloway’s Pi Day celebration returns to Burning Tree


Maddie Kaltman

Junior Diya Bhattacharjee uses a jelly bean and paper plate to teach a kindergarten student the mathematical concept of pi.

By Jacob Cowan and Maddie Kaltman

Calculus teacher Michele Holloway and more than 40 of her students celebrated International Pi Day at Burning Tree Elementary School during lunch today. They brought pies of all flavors — and pi in various notations — to enjoy with Maura Backenstoe’s kindergarten class.

Despite the windy weather, Whitman students joined Backenstoe’s class in eating sweet treats and conducting pi-related mathematics activities on the tennis courts. Using jelly beans and paper plates, the calculus students taught the kindergarteners about the relationship between a circle’s circumference and its diameter — a ratio mathematicians call pi.

“I think it’s really good to educate the kids while they’re young about pi because this information stays with them for life,” said Calculus BC student Omar Obeid, a sophomore. “The sooner they learn about these complicated concepts, the better they’ll understand them when they’re older.”

According to Holloway, this Pi Day excursion began when her eldest son, Kai, attended Burning Tree. Over the past 15 years, the annual celebration has become a staple of Holloway’s curriculum.

Since the Pi Day festivities didn’t occur for the last two years due to the pandemic, Holloway said she was excited to finally return to Burning Tree, pie in hand.

“I just love seeing my students working with the young kids and being excited about teaching them,” Holloway said. “It’s really cool.”