Title of Project: Archimedes Math Schools: Math enrichment for elementary school children

Year of Competition: 2012

Grant amount: $1800

Project Duration: Single Year

Type of Report: Final

Period Covered: January 2013 - December 2013

Description of Activity:
Archimedes Math Schools is a non-profit organization run by mathematics professors in Winnipeg. The organization was borne out of the recognition of a need for a low-cost after-school mathematics program for elementary school-aged children. There are two primary goals of our organization. The first is to foster a love of mathematics in children who attend elementary schools through excellent instruction from passionate teachers. We have chosen to focus on this age group because we believe that the key to long-term success in mathematics begins with quality instruction and immersion in math enrichment activities early in a child's mathematical career. The second goal of our organization is to provide an environment where university mathematics students, many of whom are training to become teachers, can gain valuable experience teaching math to children.

We hire energetic university math students to run the classes and all lessons and activities are planned by university math professors. All math professors and guest lecturers are unpaid volunteers. Lessons involve a blend of instruction in fundamental math concepts, enrichment activities and preparation for math contests. We have also arranged for mathematicians to speak about accessible math topics to the children.

From September to April we run weekly classes out of a church that rents to us at low cost. In addition to our regular after-school program, in collaboration with the University of Winnipeg's Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, we ran a two-week "Math Readiness Workshop" in inner-city Winnipeg in August, 2013.

Parents of children in our regular program are typically charged a (low) registration fee to cover essential costs. With the help of the CMS endowment grant, this year we were pleased to be able to offer several bursaries based on financial need. Our two-week math readiness camp at the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre was offered free of charge to families from inner-city Winnipeg.

More information about our program can be found on our website; see http://archimedesmathschools.com".

Assessment of Effectiveness:
In September of 2012 we launched six classes for Grades 4 & 5 students, which ran weekly for 28 weeks. For the 2013-2014 school year we expanded and are now offering nine classes for Grades 4, 5 & 6 students that will again run for 28 weeks. In our inaugural year, with very little advertising, our program attracted 65 students. Almost all of these students returned to complete another year with us and we received extremely positive feedback from parents and children in the program. This year, our program is at capacity with 109 students and a significant waiting list. We believe that this suggests that our program has been effective in achieving our goals of nurturing the mathematical abilities and confidence of the children in our program. It also seems to clearly demonstrate the need for this type of organization in the community.

As we are working with children, our program has the potential to greatly benefit many students in the community and to foster long-term engagement of youth in mathematics. Many of our instructors are training to become teachers or intend to pursue graduate studies in mathematics. There is a significant training component to our program since math professors Anna and Ross Stokke work closely with the university students, offering support and feedback regularly. As well, our program provides an excellent opportunity for these university students to gain valuable experience in teaching math to children. In the 2012 -2013 year we employed four university students and have increased this number to seven students for the 2013 -2014 school year. At a very grassroots level, our program is thus benefitting the mathematical community not only by promoting math to children in the community but also by directly training future mathematics teachers.

Beyond the CMS Endowment Grant, we are grateful to have received a $2000 Outreach Grant from the Fields Institute. The University of Winnipeg also provided $1,220 to help pay for the costs of the summer math readiness program that we provided. We have also received a provincial Career Focus grant from Manitoba Children and Youth Opportunities to supplement the wages of two of our six students, which amounts to $3 per each hour worked. Since the CMS Endowment Grant was the first grant received by our organization, we believe it was instrumental in attracting this further funding.

Our program was featured in two public articles in Winnipeg. One appeared in a community edition of the Winnipeg Free Press, called "Lessons from Archimedes": http://bit.ly/10Lvvxs. Note that the Winnipeg Free Press article mentioned the support from the Canadian Math Society.

The other article was featured on the University of Winnipeg website: bit.ly/1fy1ig0.

Future Plans (if any):
Ultimately, we would like to run classes out of several additional locations in Winnipeg, chosen in the heart of communities. To help attain this goal, we would like to eventually be able to hire a permanent manager to assist with overseeing the program since math professors are currently doing all administrative work as volunteers. This will be expensive but we will need to have this component in place before further expansion is feasible

In the short-term, we are interested in working to expand our regular program to include weekly classes at the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre in Winnipeg's inner city. Working in collaboration with our partners at the University of Winnipeg, we hope to be able to offer these classes free of charge. As well, we intend to continue to annually run free "Math Readiness Programs" each August at the Wii Chiiwaakanak Centre. The funds that we have received from the CMS Endowment Grant will help us to achieve these goals.


Item2012-132013-2014 (in progress/projected)
Student Employees$10,300.00$20,250.00
Facility rental$1,176$2,100
Administrative costs (criminal checks, insurance, payroll, etc.)$1108$885
Guest speaker honorarium$185$200
Other Sources of Funding
Fields InstituteFields outreach grant$2,000
Manitoba governmentCareer focus grant, Manitoba Children and Youth OpportunitiesUp to $1,800
University of Winnipeg$1,220

Note: We also charge parents tuition of $340 per child for 28 weeks to cover costs. We award bursaries to families who cannot afford the tuition fee.

Options for unused funds

Ultimately, we would like to reach more children by expanding our program. To help attain this goal, we would like to eventually be able to hire an additional person to assist with overseeing the program since math professors are currently doing all administrative work and management as volunteers. We are trying to save money to hire a manager on an ongoing contract to assist with this. We would ultimately like to reduce the tuition fee for parents in the regular program but this will have to be supplemented on a regular basis through outside funding. As well, unused funds can be used to offer a greater number of bursaries based on financial need, and will be used to run free classes out of the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre for families who are unable to afford math programming for their children outside of school.

Contact Name: Anna Stokke

[September 28, 2013]