Title of Project: Montreal Math Circle

Year of Competition: 2016

Grant amount: $1600

Project Duration: Single Year

Type of Report: Annual

Period Covered: January-December, 2017

Description of Activity:
Mathematical circles have been imported from Eastern Europe to North America in the 1990’s where they became the prototype of thinking out of the box, prompting analytical curiosity and enquiry – the very type of thinking a scientist applies every day. While trying to foster the interest in mathematics of talented children, our circle’s mandate includes in addition a desire to alleviate the math anxiety in children which we address by creating a number of hands on activities in which solving mathematical problems becomes simply an essential life skill.

The typical Montreal Math Circle’s Sunday consists of about 30-40 students divided in three streams: grades 3-4, grades 5-6 and, respectively, grades 7-8 (or 8+). Each stream meets for 1.5 hours and is provided with materials prepared in beforehand. The students register in advance for a session that consists of 5 or 6 consecutive Sunday meetings. In 2016-17, we run a total of 6 sessions during the year; while in 2016-2017 we have run 5 sessions (mostly of 6 classes). This year, 2017-18, we have completed two sessions and we are currently accepting registrations for the next two sessions starting January 2018.

Assessment of Effectiveness:
The CMS funding allowed us to have a second instructor assisting the younger and the largest group of students in the earlier sessions of the year. The youngest group needs more one-on-one, or small group, discussions and having two people go around the room was animating the overall class discussions.

The grant was also beneficial in creating new material to use, both hands on and abstract, and acquiring new books. That was particularly visible during a week long hands-on workshop we referred to as our June Math camp. It also enabled us to buy math books to use in our activities.

We have also secured a one-year PromoScience grant which greatly helped with our activities.

Future Plans (if any):
As I mentioned before, we are becoming a staple of the community for Sunday's educational activities. We continue our sessions for the whole duration of the academic year.

We would like to enlarge our base of instructors and pursue creation of new materials. Last summer, we have added a week long of hands-on activities under the name of June Math Camp - a day camp for students 10 and older. This has been successful and we are currently looking into securing funds to replicate the camp in June 2018.

We have used the entirety of the funding (less $10): $850 for instructors salaries, $185 materials (such as paper, scissors, printing and copying), $500 on books such as AMS math circle in Berkeley, puzzles, competition problems and $60 on advertising

Contact Name: Alina Stancu

[December 23, 2017]