Math Club Updates
2019 -2020 Parent Meeting
Monday, October 7, 2019
7:00 PM at JMI Multi-Purpose Room
Math club is run by volunteer parents and the goal is to spread the word as much as possible. Each club is divided into teams of 4-5 children. The parents in each team, collectively, are responsible for finding a parent to coach each night as well as to make sure that every child gets picked up at the end of the night.
We spend very little time on teaching theory and instead focus on problem-solving. We have done extremely well in math contests. However, our main goal is to prepare students to be creative thinkers and problem solvers and to instill skills that will help them in college and beyond. While contests performances are important, that is not our end goal.
We try to be extremely efficient in the use of children’s (and parents’ time). Children work on very hard problems during the hour they spend at math club and they may have to spend at most one more hour each week to catch up or work on additional problems. We do almost all administrative/management stuff over email and expect each parent to check their email before coming to the math club. (Each club will have its own mailing list).
Math club is for children who are both good at math and enjoy its challenge. If your child is over-scheduled and/or does not want to do extra math, we strongly recommend that you do not force them to attend math club.
What happens during JMI Math Club meetings?
There are two complementary ways of teaching math. Let us consider an example problem of adding numbers 1 through 100. In traditional math instruction, children are given the most elegant and powerful techniques for solving a set of problems and they apply those techniques to exercises. So the approach here would be to tell them the formula, N(N+1)/2, for the sum of first N numbers and possibly show them its derivation. This clearly has its benefit but it also makes mathematical theories seem like black magic. Moreover, when children see a problem, they either know how to solve it or they simply give up. In reality, mathematical theories are refined over several decades. The first few attempts are often crude and may only yield a partial solution. One gains appreciation and insight into the theory only by deconstructing this process. Mathematics, for its practitioners, is a beautiful art because even the most difficult problems can be solved using elementary principles.