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. Below you find a preview of the next session. Links to information about past sessions 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 Math Circle at FAU is now partially supported by a grant from the Mathematical Research Institute (MSRI) and the National Security Agency (NSA)
All sessions will be held either in PS 109 or in PS 112, 2:30 to 4 PM on the following Saturdays.
FALL SEMESTER 2013
SPRING SEMESTER 2014
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). 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. There are, of course, no grades, and no pressure.
Source of the Problems 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.
Preview of the Session of December 7, 2013
- A very short math warm up; announcements.
By popular demand, we are giving the knights and knaves some rest. For now. They cannot be sent to sleep forever.
S. P. statue in Madrid
When Sancho Panza, the squire of Don Quixote, was made believe that he had been named governor of the isle of Barataria, he was supposed to resolve difficult questions. Here is one of them. A river divided a dominion (a property) in two. "So, then, over this river was a bridge, and on the other side of it there was a gallows and a kind of court set up in which there were usually four judges who administer the law set down by the owner of the river, the bridge, and the dominion. That law read like this: ‘If anyone crosses this bridge from one side to the other, he must swear first where he’s going and why. And if he tells the truth, he should pass, and if he lies, he should be hanged on the gallows without possibility of appeal.’ Many people went over the bridge, and since they all knew the law, it was easy to tell that what they stated was the truth, and the judges let them pass freely." “It happened, then, that a man swore and said as his oath that he came to be hanged on the gallows, and for no other reason.''
The judges, of course, were very confused. If they hanged the man, he told the truth and should have been let go. If they let him go, he lied, and he should be hanged.
The Big Annual (or semi-annual) CompetitionMost of the session will be dedicated to the first big competition, with winners but no losers. Students can compete individually or in teams to solve problems. A mystery number will have to be found, and the first teams to find it will get prizes and/or honorable mentions on our website. We hope everybody will have fun wrestling with the problems.
Contact Information Please address your questions or suggestions to:
|Professor Tomas Schonbek|
|Department of Mathematical Sciences|
|Florida Atlantic University|
|Boca Raton, FL 33431|