One of the most difficult things about teaching math and science is figuring out interesting and accurate ways to make concepts concrete.

Solutions frequently involve pie. I have used pie to explain everything from the extremely straightforward (how to calculate the area of a sector of a circle) to the less tangible (the amount of thermal energy in an object depends on both its temperature and its mass). Bill Nye has used pie to demonstrate the transfer of momentum. Mixed-variety pies can show how ratios work; while my examples generally include more mundane flavors such as apple, banana, and cherry, the ratio of “crack” slices to candy bar slices to cinnamon bun slices in Momofuku’s “frankenpie” is 2:1:1. This ratio doesn’t definitively tell you how many slices there are, but it does tell you that the total number must be a multiple of 4. (I’ve never had this pie and it looks delicious, but the price is awfully steep. Maybe I could use it in a tutoring session and write it off as a business expense?)

I’d write more- the pies-as-science possibilities are endless- but for some reason I’m suddenly ravenous. Pardon me for a moment.

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