National Association of Math Circles Wiki
Sample Program Structures

Math Circle Models

There are more than 180 different Math Circle programs across the country. Each of these programs take a different approach in choosing their participant audience, mathematical focus and pedagogy and primary Math Circle goals.

Below you’ll see some examples of the Math Circles that our MC-MAP mentors have worked with.

AIM Math Teachers’ Circle (Teachers’ Circle)
Presented by Joshua Zucker,

The AIM Math Teachers' Circle is the original MTC that started in 2007 at the American Institute of Mathematics in Palo Alto. We run a one-week full-time residential math immersion program for middle school teachers, where we focus on giving them an experience as math learners (rather than on directly applicable classroom activities). We build a community of problem solvers, connecting mathematicians and teachers. During the school year, we meet monthly, and for the past year we have expanded to two locations (San Jose and Palo Alto). The model of this circle was adopted by AIM and used as a basis for forming a network and training the leadership of more than 60 other MTCs operating around the country. In addition to a large library of handouts from circle sessions, we have published professionally-made videos of several of our sessions that are a basis for conversation about what makes a good Math Teachers' Circle problem and session.

East Texas Math Teachers’ Circle (Teachers’ Circle)
Presented by Jane Long,

The East Texas Math Teachers' Circle (ETMTC) is an opportunity for mathematics teachers to rediscover their love for mathematics by exploring problem solving with Stephen F. Austin State University mathematics faculty. Emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving strategies that can then be taken back to the mathematics classroom. The ETMTC is open to all interested mathematics teachers: high school, middle school, elementary school, public school, private school, home school, and student teachers. During the fall and spring semesters, the ETMTC will meet one Tuesday evening per month. Dinner will be provided at 5:30 PM and the problem-solving sessions will follow until 8:00 PM. Meetings will be located in the SFA Math Building in Room 123. It is free to attend and no RSVP is required. Come join in and don't miss the fun! CPE and G/T credits available.

Kansas State University Math Circle Seminar (Elementary - High School Students’ Circle)
Presented by Natasha Rozhkovskaya,

Math Circle Seminar at Kansas State University is an enrichment program that serves school students with strong interest in mathematics. The program is hosted by K-State Department of Mathematics, and sessions at the program are given by faculty and math graduate students. A regular weekly workshop of Math Circle Seminar lasts for an hour, where students solve challenging problems, discuss various math topics, and master solving techniques. Occasionally Math Circle Seminar organizes special events: distinguished lectures, games and puzzle days, and math workshops in the museum. Participants of the program are encouraged to participate in math competitions such as AMC 8-12, USA Kangaroo and Manhattan Math Olympiad.

Kittitas Valley Math Circle (Elementary Students’ & Parents’ Circle)
Presented by Dr. Brandy Wiegers,

Led by Central Washington University mathematics professors, the Math Circle began on May 5, 2015 and is held 6:30 to 7:30 every Tuesday evening throughout the school year at Lincoln Elementary School. The program is designed for fourth and fifth-graders and their parents. Each week we’ll be playing a game (NIM, Toads & Frogs, Triangle Pennies and the 4 Square Problem) which can lead us to lots of fun mathematics.

The 4th and 5th graders will be working with a group of six undergraduates from Central Washington University, who in turn will be led by Brandy Wiegers and Dominic Klyve. At the same time the students are playing, we’re also running a workshop for parents. This workshop, led by Allyson Rogan-Klyve and Janet Shiver, will give parents a chance to play the same games, and will explore ways to use these games as a starting point for more mathematical exploration and play at home. The workshop will also discuss some aspects of the Common Core Curriculum, which so many parents find to be very different than the math they remember from their own school days.

Math Circle at the University of Toronto Mississauga (10th-12th Grade Students’ Circle)
Presented by Maria Wesslen,

The Math Circle at the University of Toronto Mississauga is a free enrichment program for students in grades 10 to 12 who are interested in mathematics. We meet once per week (Tuesdays 6:30-8:30) to work on interesting and challenging problems. Participants will get to meet professors, lecturers, graduate & undergraduate students and others from the university. We work together on interesting problems from a wide range of topics within mathematics and related fields. The sessions are very informal and the emphasis is on developing problem-solving skills while having fun exploring interesting puzzles and problems. Pizza and cookies are provided.

Riverbend Community Math Center Math Circle (Ages 4- 17 Students’ Circle)
Presented by Amanda Serenevy,

The Riverbend Community Math Center is a non-profit organization in the South Bend/Mishawaka area that started offering programs during the fall of 2006. Our mission is to promote interest and confidence in mathematics among people of all ages. With technology-related fields becoming increasingly important to our economy, people need more opportunities to learn that math can be fascinating and that it can lead to rewarding careers. Our organization provides several different types of programs including a Math and Technology Academy, Math Circles, teacher workshops and mentoring, and custom events with hands-on activities. Our Math Circles meet on a weekly basis each semester and include a Circle for K-2 students, two for 3rd through 5th grade students, and two for 6th through 9th grade students. In addition, older students often join in on Math Circle activities during the summer.

Rocky Mountain Math Teachers’ Circle (Teachers’ Circle)
Presented by Diana White,

The Rocky Mountain MTC provides professional development and a learning community for teachers in which they (a) engage as learners in the process of doing mathematics with guidance from university mathematicians, and (b) have support and training to implement rich mathematical tasks in their classroom. Specifically, goals for teachers through the MTC include strengthening teachers' mathematics problem-solving skills, engaging teachers in the process of doing mathematics (experimenting, conjecturing, exploring, communicating), and equipping teachers to initiate student-centered, inquiry-based mathematical instructional practices in classrooms. We meet one Saturday per month year-round, and hold various summer workshops. We also sponsor three Math Students’ Circles for middle and high school teachers, each led by an experienced MTC participant.

San Francisco Math Circle (Elementary - High School Students’ & Teachers’ Circle)
Presented by Addie Evans,

The San Francisco Math Circle (SFMC) is a program designed to increase the quality and quantity of students who become mathematics educators and researchers, or who simply love and use mathematics in their studies, work and daily activities.

SFMC students are introduced to exciting math beyond the school curriculum and elements of advanced math culture. The only prerequisite is an excitement to learn math in an after school setting! Above all else, students should expect to have fun with challenging problems at Math Circle. Students will learn new types of math, play math games, and make new math friends!

We base our activities on students who like to ask questions, explore connections in math, play games, develop strategies, collaborate, and share. Students will be encouraged to persistently work at challenging problems and think creatively. Instructors will acknowledge persistent work as well as interesting questions and ideas.

Talking Stick Math Circle (Elementary Students’ Circle)
Presented by Rodi Steinig,

The Talking Stick Math Circle (Philadelphia) is led by Rodi Steinig, assisted occasionally by several high-school and elementary-school students. Typically 5 courses per year are offered, each for a different age range. The courses last for 6 weeks, meeting weekly for an hour. About 80% of students are homeschoolers. A detailed blog post from each session is posted online so that parents can follow up or supplement at home. The Mission Statement is:
  •   to expose children to the richness of mathematics content;
  •   to help children realize that mathematics isn’t defined by arithmetic or performance;
  •   to allow children to experience the creativity of mathematics;
  •   to explore mathematics in a collaborative group, vs. competitive group or individual pursuit;
  •   to help children find or increase enjoyment in mathematics;
  •   to foster conceptual understanding of mathematical topics;
  •   to inform parents about mathematics pedagogy so that they can increase their children’s and families’ math enjoyment and success in general;
all in a non-coercive environment.

York Math Circle (Elementary and Middle School Students’ Circle)
Presented by Lorraine Garrison,

York Math Student Circle serves 4th-8th grade students at York International School, a K-12 International Baccalaureate school, in Thornton, CO. Students meet after school each week for 75 minutes. The circle is open to any student who wants to attend regardless of academic success. Low entry, high ceiling problems are introduced with the focus on exploration, creative problem solving and sharing of ideas. Last year, over 65 students participated with an average attendance of 20 students.

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