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Math Circles

Why are kids more comfortable kicking or throwing a ball than solving a math problem? If a student is good at baseball in high school is that success attributed to recently found natural talent or is it a factor of four years of previous little league play in middle school and before that four years of T-ball play in elementary school? Learning math, like any other skill or attribute, takes time. Why not start your student’s exposure to math concepts and projects before college?

There are programs that explore ideas with fun hands-on projects that don’t focus solely on math, once such group is called Odyssey of the Mind.

A group that does focus 100% on exploring math ideas through guest lecturers is called The National Association of Math Circles. From their web page their goal is to “education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with pre-college students. These students, and sometimes their teachers, meet with mathematical professionals in an informal setting, after school or on weekends, to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics. The goal is to get the students excited about the mathematics, giving them a setting that encourages them to become passionate about mathematics.”

There are Math Circle clubs across the country. Generally, the events take place during the school year and meet once a week on a college campus. Here are links to four groups in the Bay Area: San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and Stanford.