There was some healthy sibling rivalry in the Wood household last month.
Sixth-grade twins Giulia and Calder were trying to out-memorize each other for their class Pi Day celebration.
The students in Terri Bakke-Schultz’s older Challenge class at Island View Elementary School celebrated Pi Day on March 14 (3/14) with a competition — who could memorize the most numbers in the never-ending sequence of pi, the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter.
They also had activities like piku (that’s haiku but with three syllables in the first line, one in the second and four in the third) and of course, actual pies.
Giulia took home the top prize by memorizing 225 digits of pi.
Calder came in second with 161 digits of pi.
Giulia, who also won last year’s competition, said her goal was 222 digits.
“Then my friend Katie said she’d memorize 223,” she said.
She got to 113 last year and that helped give her a head start this year.
“What I’d done earlier kind of came back to me,” Giulia said.
She memorized in sets, putting together three or four digit segments. She memorizes better doing something, like walking.
When her memorized list got really long she set aside the first 100 and worked forward.
Calder said he was ahead about 50 digits thanks to remembering parts from the previous year. He also memorized by groupings, breaking sections apart by chunks — like one of 10 digits made up of three numbers
“It seems right,” he said.
Calder would say the numbers in his head about 20 times and then start from the beginning, adding the new section.
Other students had their own way of memorizing — one set the numbers to a beat.
“He was making a song out of digits of pi,” Calder said.
Calder has been busy in another area, too.
He won the school’s geography bee sponsored by National Geographic in January and scored high enough on a written geography test to qualify for the state-level competition.
Last month he and his family headed to Tacoma for the state geography bee.
Calder said there were 100 kids split into five classrooms. There were eight questions to narrow the field to just 10 students. He was out in the first round, missing a question about Poland.
Giulia, who watched the competition, said it starts with cities and states in the U.S. and then the world.
“You have to know what country it is but they don’t give you any options,” she said.
Calder got old questions to study from. He thought about reading one page of the encyclopedia a day but ended up not doing it. He said reading, including James Bond novels, helped with some of the answers.
Giulia Wood memorized 225 digits of pi
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