Return to Headlines

Diman fills up on pi


Also covered by the Herald NewsCBS BostonChannel One, and others.

Pi. It’s the transcendental number “3.14…” used to calculate the area, perimeter, and volume of circles and cylinders. Every year, math departments and enthusiasts celebrate “Pi Day” on March 14 (3/14), but this year’s celebration will be bigger, because the date will be 3/14/15, which corresponds to the next two digits of pi (3.1415) and only happens once a century.
At Diman Regional, this year’s special Pi Day celebration will expand well beyond math classrooms to include all shop and academic programs. Unfortunately, March 14th is a Saturday, so the celebration will take place the day before, with a culmination event on March 13th (or March 12 if weather forces a change).
On the 13th at 8:30 a.m., the entire school body will assemble in the parking lot with colored cardboard cubes to create a giant “π = 3.1415 …” display, similar to what sports teams do at stadiums. Diman’s electronics department will fly a drone over the assembly to take high-definition pictures and video of the event. Nearly 1,600 squares of 2’x2’ card stock will be used for the display, and then repurposed for other school uses.
Academic teachers have worked diligently to incorporate pi into their lessons, and every vocational program has special activities or projects planned. Below is a list of the activities the shops plan to conduct:
  • Automotive Collision, Repair, and Refinishing (“Wheels of Pi”) will be using pi to calculate the area of a wheel that has circular and semi-circular holes within the metal. They will then use that area calculation to figure out how much paint is needed to cover the wheel.
  • Automotive Technology (“Pi Power – Revving up Horsepower”) plans to overbore a cylinder in an engine to increase the power. They will then study how the increased diameter will affect horsepower and miles per gallon.
  • Building and Property Maintenance (“Pi Pavers”) will use pi to calculate the measurements of a fire pit, and will then use that area to figure out how many pavers will be needed to build the fire pit. Finally, they’ll build that fire pit to test the accuracy of their calculations.
  • Business Technology (“Excelling with Pi”) will do three separate activities. Freshmen will use Publisher to create a cityscape that represents the numbers of pi. Sophomores will use Excel to calculate the most cost-effective way to order pizza for a staff meeting, using pi to calculate the area of the pizza in relation to the price. Juniors & seniors will create an Excel formula utilizing the pi function to calculate their age in pi.
  • Carpentry - Cabinetmaking (“A Concrete Application of Pi”) will be using pi to calculate the volume of a sonotube building support. They will then transpose cubic feet to yards for volume for sonotubes that are 8’, 10’, and 12’ in length.
  • Culinary Arts intends to do several activities. First, they will do a lesson on “The Golden Plate”, incorporating pi into creating a nutritionally-ideal plate of food. Second, all dishes that day will be priced at a factor of pi x 2 ($6.28), and third, all dishes will incorporate pie, such as shepherd’s pie or salmon pie.
  • Dental Assisting Dental Assisting (“Radiation Comparison with Pi”) will use pi to calculate the effectiveness of circular collimators vs. rectangular ones. Collimatiors control the radiation from x-rays, so understanding their effectiveness is critical to controlling radiation dosage for patients. In addition, Dental Assisting will be conducting a "Mouthful of Pi" project, where they will use pi to calculate the difference in area between the mouthguard material being used (center) and the remaining material being recycled (outer perimeter).
  • Drafting (“Lally Column Calculations”) was critical in the design of the π = 3.1415 … display. In addition, students will use pi to calculate the area of a lally column, which is a steel-perimeter column that is then filled with concrete. Students will use their calculations to figure out the volume and weight of the column.
  • Electricity (“Swimming with Pi”) will calculate the circumference of a pool and then a larger exterior perimeter for a bonding (similar to grounding) of the pool by laying wire at a certain distance around the pool.
  • Electronics (“Getting Charged Up with Pi”) has two parts to their Pi Day celebration. First, they will be flying the drone over the school-wide display to photograph and video the event. Second, they will be using pi to calculate inductive reactance of wires and electronics, which is the opposition of AC current flow in an inductor. Pi is critical to the formula to calculate the reactance.
  • General Shop (“Pick of the Litter”) will build trash cans by using pi to calculate the amount of sheet metal they need to build a round can.
  • Graphic Communications (“Get with the Program”) will create circular program of studies, involving extensive die-cutting of the printed material. They are focusing on designing for within a circle, using pi to help figure out the best ways to do so.
  • Health Assisting (“How Can Pi Help Prevent Heart Attacks?”) will help people understand the impact of arterial blockage and how filling part of the circular arteries of the heart affects the volume of blood traveling through them, subsequently making the heart work harder to pump blood and causing a rise in blood pressure.
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration (“Duct, Duct, Duct, Pi”) intends to use pi to calculate the amount of sheet metal required to create a flex duct coupling.
  • Machine Tool Technology (“The Pi Revolution”) will use pi to calculate the rotations per minute and the surface feet per minute as a machinist gets closer to the center of a machined piece. As the circumference of a cut shrinks, rotational speed must increase to maintain a constant cutting rate.
  • Metal Fabrication & Joining Technologies (“Tanks a Lot, Pi”) will use pi to calculate the surface area of a cylinder in order to build a hot water heater from scratch.
  • Plumbing (“Pi Under Pressure”) will use pi to calculate the volume of pipes in a wet wall and will then calculate how height and pipe capacity affect water pressure.
Nathan Byrnes, Media Services Coordinator
508-678-2891 x1870