If there’s one student who know pi, it’s Steven Inderdeo. The sixth-grader at Clear Stream Avenue School successfully recited the first 388 digits of pi, the mathematical constant used to calculate the circumference of circles.
He did in on Pi Day, March 14, chosen because of its relevance to the date (3.14). Fifth- and sixth-grade students gathered in the school library for the annual Pi Challenge, in which students compete to see who can recite pi to the most decimal places. Steven blew the competition away.
“I’ve always been good a memorizing things,” he said, adding that he has been studying pi for about two months. Reciting 388 numbers barely makes a dent in pi’s infinite value but it certainly is an accomplishment for an 11-year-old.
Steven’s teacher, Richard Mansfield, said students typically are able to memorize about 100 to 120 numbers in pi, and the best he has seen in the past is about 190. This year, Steven more than doubled Clear Stream’s unofficial record. “I thought it was amazing,” Mansfield said.
Before his big performance, Steven said he practiced reciting the number, getting help from his brother and classmates. When the big moment came, he said he was able to recount the number fairly easily with few pauses.
His classmates encouraged him the whole time. “They were excited,” he said. “Everybody was shocked.”
Steven said math is his favorite subject in school. He likes following steps to get to the right answer. “I’m not the best at math,” he said, “but I am good at it.”
Mansfield, who said that students face so much pressure with state testing, likes that Pi Day can be a chance to have some fun. “Math class should be a celebration of numbers,” he said, “rather than a preparation for an exam. Kids need an outlet to express themselves.”