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The 2009-2010 Math Circles are coordinated by instructors Dan Schnabel, Daniel Deaconu and Chris Wu. Sessions are held each Saturday afternoon. In September 2009 we have seen 60 new registrants and 15 returning from previous years. On average, there are 30 students per week. Interestingly, all attendees are active contest participants. Cyril Zhang enthusiastically says that “it’s the best part of my week. It’s better than a whole week of math classes.” Billy Janitsch says “It’s a much more enjoyable approach to math. The dynamic of the sessions inspires me to do mathematics on my own and for fun.” Each week, a handout is prepared by the instructors. The handout includes problems of the day. It also includes extra problems for the following session. Concepts needed for the solution of problems are provided during presentations. Follow up on previous weeks’ problems results in increased student participation. Each week’s success depends on student participation and skillful leadership of the instructors. The sessions consist of structured presentations led by instructors. They are 2 hours in length with a 15 minute snack break. An integral part of each presentation is the students’ participation. Instructors pedagogically bring the students from problem statements to full solutions. In effect, students build confidence through presentation of solutions while simultaneously developing problem solving skills and learning interesting mathematics. Throughout the year students are exposed to a wide range of mathematical topics. They are given instruction on the basics of combinatorics, number theory, functional equations and set theory, in addition to their favourites, algebra and geometry. The Fields’ Institute is supporting such a rare and precious opportunity for high school students to explore their mathematical interests at such an early age. Mr. Schnabel is one of the Senior Section Instructors. He is a high school math teacher for Grades 912. He is a local Torontonian and former member of a Canadian math circle. His contest expertise involves co-authoring the Waterloo Grade 11 Fermat Contest. Mr. Wu is the Junior Section Instructor. He is an elementary teacher for Grade 8. He is a multiple contest champion. His expertise is highlighted as co-coordinator of a York University Math Camp in addition to co-authoring the Waterloo Grade 7/8 Gauss Contest. Mr. Deaconu is the other Senior Section Instructor. He received his PhD from York University. Prior to coming to Canada he was involved in the Romanian educational system. He is a former high school Olympian. All instructors bring forward a professional mathematical demeanor which is encouraging and supportive, yet challenging. The three instructors have unique mathematical personalities, each of which is ideally suited to motivate students to solve challenging recreational problems. Together, the instructors coordinate topics, handouts and lecture schedules. The instructors are volunteers, building community among aspiring contest writers and future mathematicians. It is certain that they act as role models for junior mathematicians and that this community is unique to the Fields’ Institute. It should be noted that the continuing support of Angoss Software make the advertisements and snack breaks possible. Richard Cerezo

Math Circles  

Report on events during 2009-2010 academic year.

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