Mathematical Moments

Welcome to the home page of the Math Circle for middle school students at FAU! The main purpose of the circle is to have fun with mathematics, while learning something in the process. We will be solving problems, having friendly competitions, playing mathematical games. Links to information about past sessions, as well as other information, can be found on the navigation panel on the left.

To keep this circle as useful as possible, it is important to have feedback from participants and parents and teachers of participants. Don't be shy, let us know what you think. What can we do to improve it? An occasional word of praise will keep us going strong, but constructive criticism can be more important.

The Sessions

The way we will organize the sessions is as follows. In each meeting there will be a few warm up questions, a few logical problems (logic is most important in mathematics!), and then the main part. In the main part we will try first to develop some mathematical concepts, then illustrate with problems that will be both challenging and fun to solve. Even when the main concepts of the day are not geometrical, there will be a few geometry problems. We will be distributing a package with all the questions and problems written out at the beginning of the session. We would like the students to keep the handout together with their work in a loose leaf binder so as to be able to refer to this material later on. After each session, we will post the questions and the answers that were obtained during the session online, and place a link in the navigation panel at the left. We hope students missing a session or two will look at the posted material and work through it, so that we can keep on building as we move along.

It is important to emphasize that a Math Circle is not a class, or a lecture, or a talk. We would like students to form groups of two or three and work together. It is better if parents/teachers sit in the back and let the students work on their own. Some problems may be a bit too difficult for some students, we have kids of varying ages and varying scholarly backgrounds; you shouldn't be discouraged if things are too difficult. You'll catch up. We hope however there will be something for everyone. Otherwise there are no fixed rules. Students can get up, walk about, write on the whiteboards (we provide markers).

A student, or group of students working together, who think they have a solution to one of the problems should show it to one of the organizers. If the organizer agrees that the solution is the correct one, the students will get one star placed beside the solution in their worksheet, and the organizer will register that star, writing down the names of the solvers. If there is sufficient time, first solvers of a problem will get a chance to present their solution to the circle. At the last session of this semester, students with the largest number of stars will get prizes. Depending on our budget, everybody may get some prize. Students who attended most sessions will get a certificate declaring them math circle heroes.

Problems that do not get done by the end of a session are left as homework; at the beginning of each session we will briefly see how students did on the homework. Stars will be given to students who correctly solve homework. There are, of course, no grades (other than the stars), and no pressure.

Source of the Problems    As usual, the majority of problems will come from very diverse sources, old AMC 8 competitions, the Moscow Math Circle Problem book, historical sources (for example Fibonacci's Liber Abaci), etc.. A few will be made up by us. Sources will not always be credited, but will be revealed upon request.

All sessions will be held either in PS 109 or in PS 111, 2:30 to 4 PM on the following Saturdays.

FALL SEMESTER 2014
  • Saturday September 6
  • Saturday September 20
  • Saturday October 4
  • Saturday October 11
  • Saturday October 25
  • Saturday November 8
  • Saturday November 22
  • Saturday December 6

Contact Information Please address your questions or suggestions to:

Professor Tomas Schonbek
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, FL 33431

(561)297-3355
schonbek@fau.edu

The organizers

Apart from Professor Schonbek, the Math Circle at FAU would not be able to function without the help of the following people who are generously giving of their time and efforts. In strict alphabetical order of their last names, they are: