At Sierra Bonita Elementary in Spanish Fork Utah, the STEM/Music Specialty teacher, Mrs. Amy Van Dyke, has put on a Pi digit competition for the last 4 years for the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. This fun competition inspired kids to memorize as many pi digits as they could to earn a pie. The top winners get a large pie and a little pie of their choice, and the other participants who memorize a base amount per grade get a small pie - 30 digits for 3rd grade, 40 digits for 4th grade and 50 digits for 5th grade. 30-40 kids participate each year.
Mrs. Van Dyke spent the first two weeks of March in STEM class doing activities with Pi and circles. The younger grades (K-3) do art and activities and inventions with circles, pies and fractions of those things. The older grades 4-5 actually learn what pi is, where it comes from, and what circumference and diameter mean, etc. and do investigation with those things and the history of Pi Day. Mrs. Van Dyke is one of those special teachers that goes the extra mile, knows how to make everything fun and inspires kids to enjoy learning and doing something they would have never done without her challenging them.
This year for the competition Bentley Garns, a 5th grader, recited a whopping 527 digits of pi to Mrs. Van Dyke, winning the competition for the 3rd year in a row. His older sister, Londyn Garns, won the first year they did it by reciting 163 digits of pi and inspired Bentley to want to win the competition the next year. The sibling rivalry began. Bentley won the next year with 326 digits as an 8-year-old in 3rd grade with Londyn a 10-year-old in 5th grade, trailing at 231 for second place. Then last year as a 4th grader, Bentley recited 401 and this year 527, though he is able to recite 601 which he recorded doing at home.
The record that we can see online is around 285 for a 10-year-old and Bentley is able to do 601 if you include the 3 in 3.14. This puts him in the pi world ranking at 295th place as recorded in www.pi-world-ranking-list.com.
We love Mrs. Van Dyke for making pi day an exciting thing for kids at Sierra Bonita Elementary. Without her, the Garns’ kids would not have even thought about memorizing pi, let alone trying to memorize 600 digits.
The 2nd and 3rd place winners (Braelynn Nelson and Steven Carter) for this year got 120 digits and 116 digits which is also amazing! We appreciate Amy Van Dyke for inspiring kids to push themselves in fun ways.