--- What is a math circle?
According to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) SIGMAA Special Interest Group on Math Circles,
A math circle is broadly defined as a semi-formal, sustained enrichment experience that brings mathematics professionals in direct contact with pre-college students and/or their teachers. Circles foster passion and excitement for deep mathematics.
--- How does this blog add to the conversation? What is here that is not available elsewhere?
When my colleagues and I started running our first Junior Math Circle at BYU in 2011, we found a lot of helpful advice. What we didn't find was a lot of lesson plans geared toward children who were just starting elementary school, who could do a little addition and possibly a little subtraction, but who definitely didn't know how to multiply.
On this blog, I hope to post ideas for such lesson plans, as well as discussion of what worked and what didn't work, and maybe even some ideas for next time. I hope this will be a useful repository for people teaching such lessons.
--- What other information is available on Math Circles?
There is a lot of information available. A webpage full of resources is available on the above MAA website. The National Association of Math Circles also has a lot of helpful information on their website.
In addition, after a year or so of making up lesson plans from scratch or trying to modify something online, I have purchased a few books to give me ideas on lesson plans. The ones right here in my office include:
- James Tanton, Solve This: Math Activities for Students and Clubs.
- This book is actually written for College math clubs, so much of the math is way too advanced for beginning elementary school students who can't multiply. But surprisingly, a lot of the activities can be modified to work for younger age groups.
- Anna Burago, Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1: Complete Curriculum for Grades 5 to 7.
- Students in 5th to 7th grades typically know a lot more math than our students, but again some of the ideas in this book are helpful. I like the format of this book. Each lesson plan includes discussion of how things worked. We'll include such discussion here on this blog, as well as suggestions for improvement.
- Alexander Zvonkin, Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers.
- This book was written for students who are younger than ours. Again, the ideas were interesting.