Tech Talk Live Blog

Ultimate Pi Day

Roy Hoover

March 14 is Pi Day. Get it? 3.14 is an approximation of Pi, so the third month on the 14thday is Pi Day.

Actually, this year is special. Pi to four decimal places is 3.1415, so Pi day in 2015 is called Ultimate Pi Day for 3/14/15.

If you read the links, you will have some ideas about how people celebrate Pi Day. Perhaps you even contributed your own pie recipe on ultimatepiday.com. I have my own favorite apple pie recipe from my mother:

Apple Pie

Approximately 8 Apples

½ Cup Water

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Flour

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Pie Crust Top

  • Peel and slice apples and place in pie pan. The pan should be full and slightly mounded. Use more apples, if needed.
  • Pour water in the pan. Mix flour and brown sugar together and sprinkle over apples. Dot with butter. Cover with a pie crust of your choice.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the apples are soft.

You can decorate the crust with the Greek letter Pi or Pi expressed in as many digits as you wish.

Apple pie makes a great education reference, with the apple for the teacher and all that. But there is another kind of Pi that is getting press these days in education circles. Let’s talk about the Raspberry Pi for a minute.

The Raspberry Pi is a small and cheap computer that is designed to give students access to a computer on which they can experiment. The idea is to bring back some of the creativity and accessibility that we used to have with early versions of personal computers. It is designed to allow students to tinker with hardware and software on the machine and create unique and interesting projects with a computer. I would love to hear some of your stories of your first computer. Mine was a Commodore VIC-20, and I did a fair amount of tinkering with it.

The Raspberry Pi version 2 was just released in early February. I just ordered mine today. The cost is $35 plus the case, power supply, and of course shipping.

The credit card sized Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has the following specifications:

  • A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4 USB ports
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • Micro SD card slot
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core

I plan to celebrate Ultimate Pi Day with a Raspberry Pi. Please comment on this article if you will participate in this way too. Please let me know your experiences with a Raspberry Pi, or any great projects you or your students have done with any version of a Raspberry Pi. I might even have a scoop of vanilla ice cream handy, so I am ready when the apple pie comes out of the oven.

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