The mission of the Math Circles of Chicago is to provide math enrichment for 5th to 12th graders throughout Chicago. I think about this enrichment in three parts. First, we wants students to be engaged. A math circle session should be fun; time should fly. (Ideally, students will achieve ‘flow‘; check out the works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for more information).
Secondly, we want our students to talk about mathematics. When a parent tells me that their kid explained to them the mathematics they learned at an MC^2 session on the ride home, I know that session was rich. Math involves proving, justifying, disagreeing, and, finding resolution. Mathematics (despite what some think) is fundamentally a social activity.
We don’t want to stop at engagement and mathematical exchange, however. Ideally, there is a next step, the continuation of what then becomes a cycle. The third step is to come up with your own question. And, of course, to be engaged with that question, explore it, talk about it, solve it, and then, yes, make up another.
This brings us to QED, Chicago’s Youth Math Symposium. QED is an annual event affiliated with the Math Circles of Chicago. It’s like a science fair–in fact, the top performers at the Symposium qualify for the CPS city science fair. However, the projects at QED are mathematical. It’s a place for students to show the results of their research after exploring a mathematical question of their own making.
QED is coming up–this year’s event will be held on December 5th. Participants must pre-register by November 14th. If you are enjoying math circles, talking about math on your own, take the next step and pre-register today!