Math Circle promotes mathematical literacy, curiosity in youth

The Wichita State University Math Circle pairs pre-college students with mathematics professionals from WSU to understand and work with interesting problems and topics in math at weekly workshops.

Students gain insight into topics that go beyond what they work with in their classrooms, ranging from the history of math in ancient cultures to the math hidden around every corner of modern life. Session topics and content are geared toward middle school students, but all K-12 students are welcome to attend.

“Our goal is to draw students who are interested in math,” said Tinka Davis, associate educator of math and one of the organizers for the Math Circle at WSU. “We want to engage them in special topics that they don’t usually see in the classroom, so we don’t necessarily teach calculus or algebra, but we use lots of applications.”

Meetings start at 2 p.m. every Sunday, except during fall break, in Lindquist Hall, Room 101. Starting Oct. 29, meetings will resume in Jabara Hall, Room 372. Dates and times for spring 2024 will be announced at a later date.

The WSU Math Circle occasionally hosts special events, most notably a pie-themed workshop every March for Pi Day. Students also get an opportunity to step out of their chairs for demonstrations of mathematical concepts, sometimes including relics from ancient systems of math to experiments and in-class activities.

Topics for each session are announced the week of on WSU Math Circle’s Facebook page. The remaining schedule of speakers for the fall 2023 semester are as follows:

Lindquist Hall, Room 101:

  • Oct. 22: Dr. Nick Solomey

Jabara Hall, Room 372:

  • Oct. 29: Jamie Swan
  • Nov. 5: Dr. Daniel Grady
  • Nov. 12: Dr. Catherine Searle
  • Nov. 19: Elton Bowman

Students can also check books out at a mini-math library on wheels after every workshop.

“The Math Circle has become a wonderful Sunday afternoon ritual during the school year for two of our children,” said Emily Hamburg, a regular attendee to the Math Circles. “In addition to exploring interesting STEM concepts such as robotics, states of matter and the mathematics of music in our daily lives, I love the fact that our daughters are allowed the opportunity to interact with field experts on a college campus and in the classroom.”

The WSU Math Circle started in 2013 with the help of William Richardson, former associate professor emeritus of math, and continues to host sessions every semester through the volunteer efforts of professors from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling more than 23,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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