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Pieces of the pi(e) add up to tasty lessons (with video)

2:13 AM, Mar. 15, 2013  |  Comments
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It wasn't so much how people pronounced pie on Thursday; it was more how they spelled and interpreted it.

Port Edwards students celebrated Pi Day, while Riverview Medical Center in Wisconsin Rapids focused on pieces of pie.

If you are of the culinary persuasion, you might consider what fruit will fill your round pie pan. If your taste leans more toward math, you might be figuring out the ratio of the circumference of the pie pan to its diameter, known as pi, which rounded is 3.14159.

Pi Day - March 14 (3-14, in case you wondered) - was observed in more than one way Thursday.

"We're known for our pies at Riverview," said Jessica Wernberg, a registered dietician and clinical nutrition supervisor at the hospital. "People already love our pie."

Hospital staff members are the usual customers at the cafe, but residents do stop by for a bite, Wernberg said.

On Pi Day, cooks took the opportunity to make those pies a little healthier - yes, that is possible to do with pie. Kitchen staff members used graham cracker crusts, made open-face pies and added ingredients such as yogurt to cut down on the usual fat content.

At the Water's Edge Cafe in the basement of Riverview Medical Center, a variety of pies with a healthy twist filled the dessert case. Dietary staff members want to encourage more people to eat at the cafe, and Pi Day is just one way they hoped to tickle taste buds.

"I don't eat pies very often, but I'm willing to give this a try," said Dee Boerner, who stopped by for a piece of pie before heading back to the hospital pharmacy. "I'm actually going to share this with a friend down in the pharmacy."

The pies at John Edwards High School weren't served in the cafeteria - they were available in the classroom during the Port Edwards high school's sixth annual "Pi Day." Earning extra credit was easy as pie - if a student brought in a pie for the day.

Pre-calculus and calculus students planned numerous activities related to pi for ninth- through 12th-grade students. Students chose three activities, which included bingo, a scavenger hunt and games of Twister, said Tami Griffith, math and chemistry teacher.

"We're trying to generate some fun," Griffith said. "Usually when people think of math, they kind of think, 'Oh, that's not so fun; (math is) not a very fun class.'

"(Pi Day) is the one day we get to celebrate math," she said.

How does the game Twister fit into pi?

"Before our group started playing the game, we had them measure the circumference and the area of the dots on the Twister board, and whoever won and did that the fastest, automatically got into our final round," said Jenifer Smith, 17, a senior calculus student.

"Pi Day's just a lot of fun for everyone in the school," Smith said. "We get to eat pie and just play games and be able to learn a little bit about pi."

Even the family and consumer education classes got into the observance. As part of their pie baking unit, culinary II students baked pies and cupcakes (some decorated with the pi symbol) for the school's Pi Day.

No matter how you said it, one thing is for sure - Pi Day was an easy lesson to swallow.

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