Let’s Brainstorm QED Projects!

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QED is Chicago’s annual Math Youth Symposium. Each of the last two years we’ve had 130 kids come to QED, but with 570 kids participating in MC2 this fall, we want MORE.

Typically project ideas come from taking a problem you’ve already done and changing the rules. Last spring I modeled this using ticktacktoe–check out this old blog post to start stretching your problem posing muscles.

We know that the biggest barrier to entering QED is coming up with a project idea. With that in mind, we are holding QED Brainstorming sessions on October 28th at Payton and November 4th at UChicago, with sessions starting at 1:00PM and 2:15PM. Sign up here.

If you are a Haynes or Brahmagupta student at Payton or UChicago, you can simply sign up to attend the session that takes place when you are not in your math circle (for example, if you are a 2:15PM student, sign up for the 1:00 brainstorming session). Of course, kids at our other sites are welcome to sign up too! (Students in Cantor–we will also try to do some QED brainstorming during our 4th session this fall; Kovalevsky and Euler students, talk to your session leaders for ideas).

QED will be held on December 2nd, but the pre-registration deadline is November 10th. For 5th to 8th graders, you can pre-register and then continue to work right up until December. High schoolers, you need to submit your project paper by November 10th. In all cases, we hope to see you on December 2nd!



Take a Chance–Kovalevsky Day: November 4th

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Sonia Kovalevsky Day is back at UIC! Girls in grades 8-12 are invited to “Sonia Kovalevsky Day: Games of Chance”.  The day starts at 10:30 and continues until 3:00PM.

There will be sessions on the Monty Hall Problem, Non-Transitive Dice, and more. Free shirts, free food, free math–what’s not to like?!

Learn more and register.

P.S. Girls who attend the UChicago Math Circle who will miss that day, just let us know you attended SK day and we will count you present. 🙂

Fermi’s Saturday Morning Physics

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Most of our high school students participating in Math Circles do so on Saturday afternoons, and as I recently mentioned, UIC’s Alexander Furman runs the UIC Math Olympiad Project on Friday evenings. The natural question is–how do I fill my time in between? 

Good news! Registration is open for Fermi Lab’s Saturday Morning Physics program until October 14th! Sessions start on 9/30 and then sessions continue most Saturdays until December 9th. They suggest that you have some high school Physics and exposure to Algebra 2 to participate.

I admit that getting back to UChicago or Payton for math circles on Saturday afternoons may be a challenge, but this is such a great opportunity that I had to mention it. Plus, Fermi Lab seeks 15-25 interns each summer for their TARGET program, a paid internship (and they do help Chicago kids with transportation during the summer, picking up and dropping off at the end of the blue line).

Thanks Po-Shen Loh! Thanks MMC!

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This past Saturday more than 270 people turned out to hear Po-Shen Loh speak about “Math, Games, and Strategy”. Professor Loh is a mathematician at Carnegie Mellon University, and in a deep and accessible way he modeled what it means to be a math researcher.

His talk was built around a single question that captured his interest–“Why do the opposite sides of a die add up to 7?” This simple fact led him in many directions–to thinking through the implications of what would happen if the opposite sides did NOT have this sum; to how you could apply properties of Physics to be a better gambler, ahem, to be better at playing games; to how we keep score affects our perceptions of games (why not multiply each new score to the previous score in a football game rather than adding?); to finding out how expensive it is to have your own custom dice made, and that you’ll need to place an order in Hong Kong and wait a while!

Thanks again to Professor Loh, and to the Metropolitan Math Club of Chicago for bringing Po-Shen to Chicago in the first place. We look forward to his next visit!

Who Wants to be an Olympian?

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People often approach me and say, “Doug, you have math circles on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. But why not Fridays?”

Actually, they don’t. BUT, Alex Furman, a math professor at UIC, has realized that almost no one has programs early Friday evenings, so he’s seized the date. It’s the place to be if you want to experience Olympiad level questions with a friendly group of peers and the ever warm Professor Furman (who every once and a while teaches an Euler section in math circles).

The UIC Math Olympiad Project will meet from 4:45-7:00PM on 9/15, 10/6, 10/20, 11/10, and 12/1. Sign up here and see some sample problems here. With Po-Shen Loh, coach of the US national Olympiad team, speaking to math circle students tomorrow, the next logical step is to participate in UIC MOP!

Who Wants to be a Mathematician?

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While we at MC2 don’t directly run contests, we know that some of our students find them elsewhere. One contest you may not have heard about is “Who Wants to be a Mathematician?” Kids from anywhere in the US can enter, and ultimately you earn a free trip to San Diego to attend a final contest with a $5,000 grand prize.

Interested? Check out this website, and get your classroom math teacher to email to say you want to enter (or email them yourself with your teacher’s name and email address)!

MC2 Expands!

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Recently MC2 announced it’s partnership with Enlace to open a new site at Little Village Lawndale High School this fall. We are also adding seats at three of our pre-existing sites!

  • In Bridgeport, we will add a new circle and will hold separate programs for Haynes (5th and 6th grade) and Brahmagupta (7th and 8th grade).
  • At Lane Tech we will add a Cantor level program, serving students currently enrolled in either a high school level Algebra or Geometry course. In recent years our Cantor programs at Payton and UChicago have had long waiting lists, so we wanted to add a new Cantor option!
  • At UChicago we will be running Haynes sessions (5th and 6th grade) for the first time. This means that both Payton and UChicago will be ‘full service’ Saturday sites, holding all of our programming for grades 5 to 12.

Our mission is to provide novel, engaging math enrichment programs for kids in ALL communities in Chicago, and in that spirit, we plan to continue to grow!

New Little Village Math Circle Opens this Fall!

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The Math Circles of Chicago is pleased to announce that it will be opening a new math circle site in Little Village. We will be partnering with Enlace, a community organization committed to providing social access and promoting equity for community members in Little Village. The new site will be funded by a new grant awarded to MC2 by the Springboard Foundation.

The new math circle will be held in classrooms at the Little Village Lawndale High School Campus, 3120 S. Kostner. We will be working with Enlace to recruit middle school students to participate in a 5th/6th grade circle (Haynes) and a 7th/8th grade circle (Brahmagupta). We expect these circles to meet every other Tuesday at 4:30PM starting September 26th! (Registration opens August 28th.)

Late Notice: Cryptography, The Mathematics of Secret Codes

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High Schoolers, I just received a last minute email indicating that there is still space available in a week long (two hours a day) set of Cryptography workshops at UIC next week!

Cryptography: The Mathematics of Secret Codes

Since the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, spies and military couriers have been using encryption to transmit secret messages. The mathematical methods used in encryption range from the simple to the sophisticated. Since the advent of computers and the internet, cryptography has become essential in securing networks and online transactions. In this workshop, Instructor Daniel Ingebretson will explore cryptography through examples, and introduce some modern number theory along the way.

Students will meet at UIC for 2 hours per day, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM August 7-11 (Monday to Friday).

Location: 851 South Morgan Street, Science and Engineering Offices (SEO) Room 636

Program Requirements: Any high school student who has taken at least one course in algebra is welcome to apply.

Register Today!

Po-Shen Loh: Math, Games, and Strategy

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For the second consecutive year Po-Shen Loh ( launches the math school year in Chicago with a talk about Strategy and Games. He writes, “What is the secret to finding the best path through real life? Hint: it might involve math. We’ll talk about some games, and use them to inspire discussions about strategy, which ultimately connect math and real life. You might even learn how to win at Monopoly!”

Please complete this registration form if you plan on attending.

Po-Shen Loh is the founder of Expii and an Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. He also is the national coach of the USA Math Olympiad team. Through Expii he helps provide math and science tutoring worldwide, using artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing.

When: Saturday, September 9th, 1PM-3PM
Where: Whitney Young High School, 211 S. Laflin, Chicago, Theater