Math Circle: Making math fun for kids

It’s never too early to get your kid interested in math.

The University of Oregon makes it easier, too: The Eugene Math Circle will open weekly sessions for elementary, middle and high school students this fall who like solving challenging problems and learning exciting topics outside the school curriculum.

The program will begin in the second half of September and run through the end of May 2014. Math Circle leaders are members of the Mathematics department and all sessions will meet on campus, with classrooms to be announced later.

Math circles are regular gatherings of elementary, middle or high school students who enjoy mathematics and are eager to learn topics beyond the regular school curriculum. The students, guided by mathematicians and educators, work on problems that often involve complex and advanced topics. The goal is to get students excited about mathematics.

There will be sessions for four groups distinguished by age or level:

  • Elementary I (recommended for 2nd and 3rd graders), from 5 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. Thursdays.
  • Elementary II (recommended for 4th and 5th graders), from 6 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. Thursdays.
  • Intermediate (recommended for 6th to 8th graders), from 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
  • Advanced (recommended for 9th to 12th graders), from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The elementary instructor is Maria Nemirovskaya, who attended a Math Circle in Moscow as a teen. She is currently a mathematics instructor and in the winter of 2013 she taught at Berkeley and Marin Math Circles for the elementary school students.

The intermediate instructor is Jon Brundan, a professor of mathematics. After completing his undergraduate studies, he trained as a high school math teacher and then decided instead to pursue a research career in mathematics. He has been in Eugene since 1998. In 2012 he helped organize the math circle at Roosevelt Middle School.

The advanced instructor is Arkady Vaintrob, a professor of mathematics. He has been involved in teaching various Math Circles and advanced math programs for middle and high school students since being an undergraduate student in mathematics at Moscow State University.

Parents can help as “room parents,” or by providing refreshments during breaks, or helping with the overall organization and donations to the math circle.   

- from the UO Mathematics Department