Math art projects like this Pi Skyline are my favorite way to get my older son’s creative juices flowing. It’s also a great Pi Day activity! My little math nerd loves making tessellations, spirolaterals, drawing with a compass and other math tools. The idea of creating a cityscape out of graphing the numbers in pi was something we invented last year to celebrate Pi Day (March 14). We tried it again this past week and Kiddo was even more into it!

Kids don’t need to be advanced mathematicians to participate in this math art project, and of course it is easily adaptable for kids of all ages. Kids can make graphed skylines with any series of numbers but it becomes much more fun as a way to celebrate Pi Day and you need a creative Pi Day project. (*Side note: once you and your kids have explored pi, be sure to move on to a Fibonacci art project!*)

Pi, or π, is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. It is an irrational number, a little mystifying and a whole lot of fun to use in art.

## Pi Math Art

**What you need:**

- A printout of pi. I used this one at 10 Minute Math.
- Markers in different colors
- Graph paper
- Math-crazed (or not) kids

## How to make a Pi Skyline

Each building in the Pi cityscape represents a number in pi. Color in the number of squares on the graph paper that correspond to each digit of pi. Kiddo also decided to make a black dot to represent the decimal point. Kids can fill in columns of squares for as many digits as they wish. My son decided he would finish all the numbers on our two page printout. It took him two days, but he did it! (*I did not have so much patience.*)

I worked alongside Kiddo on my own pi day skyline for a while. It helps focus him on an art project if I work next to him. I used watercolors to create a night sky and river and glued my cut out shadow city on to it. You can’t tell much in the photo, but I like how the two rows of graph paper form the base of the city.

Plus don’t forget the pi stars for a little “pi in the sky”!

Watch the video!

Note: I’ve gotten some queries about the art supplies in the video. Here’s a list. (Affiliate links.)

- Watercolor palette. I love how many colors there are!!
- Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pens. These are by far my favorite markers ever. They come in several widths and all sizes are glorious to use. The ones in the video are the Big Brush size.
- Watercolor brush pens. These are an interesting way to switch things up.
- Prismacolor premier markers. These are waterproof and I like to use them when I use watercolors. They are a nice alternative to Sharpies, and the dual tip ends make them more useful.
- Strathmore Visual Journal Mixed Media. We have tons of these. I have written about them several times on this blog. You can’t go wrong with this art journal.

If you look closely you can see the stars are actually π. π in the sky, my friends.

## Pi Math Art variations

There are so many ways you could adapt this. Glue squares of paper to create a collage cityscape of pi, or use paints, watercolors, or even sculpt it. You could even use LEGO to build a 3D version! I think buildings made with different colored squares corresponding to pi would be awesome!

## Other Pi Day Ideas

Make a paper chain or beaded necklace in which each color in the chain represents a number.

Have a contest to see who can memorize the most numbers in pi. We did this last year and Kiddo beat me handily.

See our full list of pi day activities.

Show your kids these awesome color visualizations of π data.

**How are you celebrating Pi Day?**

jeannine: waddleeahchaa says

Oh, I love that skyline! I think I need to do this math art activity to help refresh my understanding!

Erica MomandKiddo says

Thank you! I’m not so sure it helps with understanding the concept of pi, but it helped with memorizing the digits. 🙂

Asia Citro says

This is SO RAD!

writersideup says

I don’t remember Pi even coming up ’til I was in high school, and for sure, I do NOT remember anything about it. This is really impressive! AND beautiful 😀

Erica MomandKiddo says

I can’t really remember when I learned about it either. Probably in high school as well, but then I wasn’t a math geek like my son!

writersideup says

Oh! So HE’s the one that wanted to learn Pi! lol Here I thought it was something else expected of young children, across the board. Wow, I wonder what he’s going to be when he grows up!

Erica MomandKiddo says

He’s been fascinated by numbers since the age of 2.

writersideup says

Hmmmm…VERY interesting. I wonder how old Einstein was when he became fascinated with numbers 😀 I don’t think it was mentioned in ON A BEAM OF LIGHT! (Wonderful book, btw)

Jacquie says

I love how geeky you are! This is an awesome idea Erica!

Erica MomandKiddo says

Ha ha! Just embracing my inner nerd. (It’s not so inner, actually.)

Kim Vij (@EducatorsSpin) says

Erica this turned out so great! I can’t wait to try this with my daughter for Pi Day. Thanks for sharing.

Carrie @ Crafty Moms Share says

What a fun idea!! I love it!

maryanne @ mama smiles says

This is brilliant! My sister says your post needs a pie in the sky reference 🙂

Erica MomandKiddo says

You have to look closely, but there is one! 🙂

coffeecupsandcrayons says

This is amazingly brilliant!

Even in Australia says

Unbeknownst to me, a child at school (the daughter of mathematicians) has been teaching her friends, including my daughter, the digits of pi. Are there any books you can recommend that teach the concept/how it was discovered/how the digits are figured out/etc.? I’m thinking along the lines of a sophisticated picture book…

Erica MomandKiddo says

I’ve actually never read it but there is Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi.

Even in Australia says

I should have said, we read that one a few years ago and were NOT impressed. 🙁 The mathematician family didn’t like it either but had no others to suggest. Perhaps your son will write one some day!

Erica MomandKiddo says

There’s a thought!

Patsy says

That’s a subtle way of thikning about it.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants says

Love-love this post. You just HAVE to join into We Love Math blog hop with this post 🙂 And what an awesome idea to graph Pi like that. I am adding this post to my upcoming math round up for the next week.

Jessica says

Love the Skyline Pi! We’re celebrating Pi Month! It’s 3.14 all of March :-D. We just made some wall art tracing circular objects around our house and wrote as many digits that my 4 year old had the patience to write.

Erica MomandKiddo says

That sounds fun, too! I love that it is also Pi Month! So cool!

leftbraincraftbrain says

This is brilliant and beautiful! What a great way to teach Pi.

Erica MomandKiddo says

Thank you! We had so much fun with it.

Clifford Spielman says

Pardon for the intrusion. I was wondering if you ever feature interesting and novel pi products on your blog? I figured I’d check in with you via email rather than cluttering up your blog with a comment.

Specifically, my company offers a Digits of Pi poster with almost 6 million digits. Millions more digits than other posters on the market. It’s a printing marvel and also a tribute to the computation of pi to almost 6 million digits.

What also makes it different is that a magnifier is required to view the pi digits, which makes it really fun and interactive. It’s a tool to spark a student’s interest in pi by having them search for repeating patterns of the digits in the poster.

Product Link: http://www.exatextposters.com/Six-Million-Pi-Digits-Poster-p/post-m-01.htm

Let me know and I can send additional info.

Erica MomandKiddo says

It looks interesting, but it’s not right for the blog right now. I’ll let you know if I change my mind!

Lauren says

This is soo great! Thanks for sharing such a creative craft for math lovers.

Shecki @ Greatly Blessed says

LOVE your skyline! I snickered a little at Pi in the Sky, lol. 🙂 Pinning!

Erica MomandKiddo says

Ha! That’s sort of my favorite part!

Ann says

Where did you get the pi stickers?

Erica says

I didn’t use pi stickers. I wonder if you are talking about the pi in the sky? I drew those.

Hayley says

My 5th and 6th graders loved this project! Thanks for a great idea! (I also challenged them to see how many digits they could memorize and have had some recite as many as 57 digits in order!)

Erica MomandKiddo says

So glad it was a hit, and thanks for stopping by to let me know!

Kelly Moore says

What a terrific way to incorporate two S.T.E.A.M. elements into a program for my elementary kiddos at my library. As a youth services programmer, I am always looking for unique projects with that “STEAM-Y” element. Thanks for the post.

Erica MomandKiddo says

I’m so glad you like it. This was one of my all time favorite projects.

Sue Gomes says

Hi, I love the pi in the skyline art project! I would like to do that as a Pi Day activity in our Library this coming March. Would you mind if I used your watercolor photo in our promotion if I credit your website?

Carol Simon Levin says

What a great post – thanks for your ideas and all your links (for this and myriad other topics!). I incorporated many of them into a program at my library http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2016/03/pi-day.html — we had kids from age 4-12 and everyone had a lot of fun. I also promoted your site last week in a special post I did to advertise the program: http://bwlibys.blogspot.com/2016/03/make-math-fun-with-books-programs-at.html. Hope you are ok with the cut & pasting…if it is a problem, I will take it down.

Erica MomandKiddo says

Wonderful, thank you for telling me!

Full Spectrum Mama says

Super fun – fantastic idea!!!!

I like that it seems fitting for diverse ages and abilities…

Liz Cunningham says

Although this is a fun art activity the mathematics of doing a pi skyline is inaccurate. The 3 in 3.14 is three wholes and should be 30 times larger than 1/10. The skyline does not mathematically represent the number pi.

Please stop promoting this inaccurate mathematical represenation.

Instead find a way to promote that pi is the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle.

Thank you,

All people who care about mathematical accuracy (i.e. Mathematical Practice #6: Attend to precision).