National Association of Math Circles Wiki
Spring 2016 NAMC News

The Spring 2016 NAMC Newsletter

Click here to see the .pdf for the Spring 2016 NAMC News or click on any of the topics below to learn more about the latest Math Circle news.

The National Math Festival is returning to Washington, D.C. April 22, 2017

On Sunday, April 17, 2016, David Eisenbud, Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) announced that the Festival will return to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The National Math Festival is the only nationwide Festival dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the fun and power of math, and it brings together the most influential mathematicians of our time including Math Circle leaders to inspire and challenge participants to experience math like never before.

At the 2015 National Math Festival, more than 20,000 people came together around Washington, D.C.’s National Mall to experience upwards of 70 math­centric activities, including performances, interactive exhibits, and lectures, all designed to inspire appreciation for the importance, beauty and fun of math. NAMC students and instructors had a ton of fun in 2015 and we are looking forward to the 2017 event!
Visit for more information!

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Director’s Corner

National Math Circles survey

Over the last several months we’ve been working to update our records for the national Math Circle program in preparation for the first national Math Circles survey. We will be sending your primary Math Circle contact an email on Tuesday, May 3rd with the link to the survey. This survey will collect information about the number of participants in your program, the academic levels of your Math Circle, and other details that will provide the most up-to-date summary of Math Circles. We plan to repeat this survey every May and will send a summary report of Math Circles in August. This report will be very useful for your fundraising efforts as you’ll be able discuss the national impact that Math Circles have on the K-12 education landscape. Your contribution to the report should take approximately 20 minutes. We thank you in advance for your work to contribute to this national report.

2016-2017, a year full of mathematics!

As you can see on the front page, this next fall kicks off the start of a wonderful year of mathematical programs. Starting with the 2016 MathFest in Columbus and culminating with Global Math Week in October 2017, there are many exciting events and opportunities within the next year. NAMC is looking forward to being involved in this year of mathematics, and we’re looking forward to bringing you along for the ride. Please ensure that you are registered on our website,, and also check out our Facebook page for up-to-date announcements, most especially related to the 2016 Circle on the Road in New York City in October!

MC-MAP funded for 2016-17

The Math Circle Mentorship and Partnership Program (MC-MAP) provides training for novice Math Circle leaders. Funded primarily by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation, this program was a success in 2015-16. We’re looking forward to expanding the program in 2016. Applications for the September training workshop are due May 30, 2016. Please see the flyer at the end of this newsletter for more details. The MC-MAP program also provides the opportunity to create new webinars and documents about the best practices in organizing and fundraising for Math Circles. We’ll be sharing these resources throughout 2016-17 on and Facebook.

Thank you for your work to support Math Circles. We look forward to seeing many of you over the next year starting with MathFest in August. Please drop by the NAMC/SIGMAA-MCST booth in the exhibit hall, the NAMC reception on Thursday evening, and at the many other Math Circle events throughout the conference.

Diana White, Director
National Association of Math Circles
Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver

Brandy Wiegers, Associate Director
National Association of Math Circles
Assistant Professor, Central Washington University

Julie Bickner & Anna Lane
NAMC Managers

Mentorship and Partnership Exchange Grant Program

Math Circle Seminar at Kansas State University

By Natasha Rojkovskaia
On March 30-31, 2016 our program hosted a visit with Dr. Chirashree Bhattacharya, the organizer of the Greater Richmond Math Circle, Virginia. Her visit was part of the Exchange Grant Program sponsored by the National Association of Math Circles. Our discussions included Math Circle ideas for activities, resources, recruitment of students and instructors, promotion, funding, small and large goals, etc. In the evening Dr. Bhattacharya lead a session called, “What's the Secret Message?” This was a workshop on codes and cyphers for students in 3rd - 5th grade. Our students seemed interested and were enthusiastic about the session. The next morning we concluded Dr. Bhattacharya's visit with a short hike to Konza Prairies Reserve.

We would like to thank NAMC for the opportunity for this exchange. It was very beneficial and inspiring. Math Circle styles, goals, and attitudes can differ among various Math Circles, so it is important for us to work together. Communication between Math Circle leaders allow us to not only exchange new ideas for workshops, but to assist with the development of a particular program based on the experience of other Math Circle enthusiasts.

Tulsa Math Circles

By Marilyn Howard

The Tulsa Math Teachers’ Circle and Tulsa Girls’ Math Circle leaders, Donna Farrior, Kimberly Adams, and Marilyn Howard, invited their mentor, Jane Long, from Stephen F. Austin State University, to join them in Tulsa. Jane visited with the Tulsa group about their Girls’ Circle for middle school girls over an extended lunch. She later facilitated a meeting for the Tulsa MTC that evening. Her visit turned out to be a wonderful exchange!
Jane’s presentation for the Tulsa MTC was entitled “Parents, Children, and Pascal’s Triangle.” There were teachers from varying backgrounds and TU faculty in attendance. Jane gave three instructions for coloring each tile of the first 15 rows of Pascal’s hexagonally-tiled Triangle in red or blue. Then she asked questions about the colored triangles based on the numbers in Pascal’s Triangle. Her final question involved throwing a dart at Pascal’s Triangle. What are the odds that you will hit an even number? For most people in the group, the answer was very surprising.
Jane did a fantastic job modeling how to facilitate a math circle through her guiding questions. She also did a good job keeping everyone on task with her extended questions, even when some thought they were done. An excellent demonstration presentation! The Tulsa group will definitely want to keep Jane in the loop.

Jane also recommended a book to use with the girls’ math circle, Math from Three to Seven by Alexander Zvonkin. The book discusses younger kids doing math and the differences between boys and girls at a young age. This seemed to validate the idea of having a girls’ circle and is a great resource that we recommend to other Math Circles.

Maize and Blue Math Circle Visit

By Addie Schnirel, (San Francisco Math Circle)

I recently visited the University of Michigan Dearborn to see the Maize and Blue Math Circle! The Math Circle has a high school and middle school group, both lead by Dr. Yunus Zeyunco and Dr. Alan Wiggins. It was truly enjoying to see the high school group dig into challenging problems around optimization and triangle inequalities. After time working independently on the worksheets, Alan and another professor began asking the students about their work and thoughts on the problems. Some interesting debates followed!

I caught the second half of the session for the middle school group, where Yunus was leading a geometry discussion. One of the joys of Math Circles is that you can take a discussion anywhere the students want to go; Yunus got some tangential questions and took them to a very satisfying conclusion. I happened to be there during the public school's spring break, so turnout was lower than usual, but I still got a great glimpse into the mathemagic that Alan and Yunus are brewing!

Funding Opportunity Announcement: Math Circle Mentorship and Partnership Grants.
Applications for Novice and Mentors due May 30.

Apply as a Novice Math Circle

Are you in the planning stages or first two years of your Math Circle?

Novice Math Circles leaders will learn to plan, implement, and sustain their own Math Circle program. We’re seeking teams of at least two people who lead or want to lead a new Math Circle program to apply to collectively participate in the program.

Your team will receive the benefit of funding to help start or sustain your Math Circle as well as a dedicated experienced Math Circle mentor, access to a community of experienced Math Circle leaders, the companionship of other Novice Math Circle leaders, and the opportunity to visit another Math Circle or be visited by your mentor.

Math Circle Mentors Needed!

Have you been involved for three or more years with leading a Math Circle?
Mentors will be assisting one or two Novice Math Circles to plan, implement, and sustain their Novice Math Circle. Benefits include grant funding for your Math Circle and the job of giving back to the Math Circle community!

Training Workshop

September 15-17, 2016 at the University of Colorado Denver.

This three-day workshop will provide the opportunity to meet your Math Circle mentor and start planning or enhancing your own Math Circle. A Julia Robinson Math Festival will be the perfect chance to practice facilitating Math Circle-style problems, while the other workshop sessions will provide support for Math Circle program logistics.

Each Math Circle mentor and at least two team members from each Novice Circle leadership team will be funded to attend the September workshop. Please note: $100 registration fee per participant will be required for workshop attendance. Details will be sent upon acceptance to the program.

Visit to learn more and apply for this funding opportunity.

Share your Math Circles in Action!

Math Circle highlights or great shots of Math Circles in action are inspiring for students across the country! If your students or teachers want to be featured on the NAMC website or Facebook page, please share your highlights and photos with

Note: If you’re sending photos, make sure to send the publicity waiver. Find the waiver and more information here:

NAMC Events at MathFest

Visit for a complete list of Math Circle related events at MathFest 2016.

2016_NAMC_News_SPRING.pdf5.44 MB