## Melrose Math Circle

January 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

For a number of years I did teach math formally. In Philly, I taught Algebra II and Calculus at Germantown Friends. At BUA I have taught Calculus and Multivariable Calculus for a number of years, but have not since the esteemed Srdjan Divac joined our faculty. Last weekend many BUA alum came back to judge at the FIRST Tech Challenge event, several of whom took my math class. I often told the students that a derivation was ‘trivial’ and they should be able to do it on the back of a cocktail napkin at a party. For the final exam one year, one of those alums, Sara Itani decided to complete her take-home final exam on a cocktail napkin. Okay, a paper tablecloth. In those earlier days at the Academy I was also an adviser for the Math Club along with Giselle Zangari, or Z as she was fondly called. Z was brilliant when it came to the teaching of geometry and group theory. She really embraced BUA’s classical tradition.

Teaching Multivariable Calculus at BUA

As Alejandro has started to learn a bit of math Catalina and I wanted to give him a bit extra. So once a week he has been trekking to either Lexington or Andover for the Russian School of Math. A very traditional old school Russian style of teaching (except he is already learning algebra I). As many of the students at BUA attended Russian Math School, I thought it would be a good idea for him.

Math Circle games, Alejandro and Maeve

Additionally, Maura Mast and Jack Reynolds started up the Melrose Math Circle last year. What is a Math Circle? A math circle is a program of outreach and educational enrichment that brings mathematical ideas to pre-college students. By their nature, math circles are informal, exploratory and open-ended. Participants work together on mathematical questions and problem, sometimes over several sessions.

I frequently would join Jack and Maura (along with several others including Catalina and Joanne Kimball-Sherman), and last year taught the older students for several weeks. This coming semester I will be teaching the 3rd-4th grade group on Wednesday afternoons and will be posting updates on the class here.

Zoom tools and soap bubbles

Earlier in the month I attended the MAA conference in downtown Boston. In has re-excited my passion for mathematics, and got to attend a Math Circle session run by the master himself, Bob Kaplan. I was also intrigued by Inquiry based mathematics as this related to the Inquiry based science work I am doing at the CEEO.

Future posts will be on the Melrose Math Circle program!