What is a math circle?

Math circles bring K-12 students (or teachers) together with mathematically sophisticated leaders in an informal setting, after school or on weekends, to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics. Math circles combine significant content with a setting that encourages a sense of discovery and excitement about mathematics through problem-solving and interactive exploration. Ideal problems are low-threshold, high-ceiling; they offer a variety of entry points and can be approached with minimal mathematical background, but lead to deep mathematical concepts and can be connected to advanced mathematics.

Athletes have sports teams through which to deepen their involvement with sports; math circles can play a similar role for kids who like to think. Two features all math circles have in common are (1) that they are composed of students who want to be there - they either like math, or want to like math, and (2) that they give students a social context in which to enjoy mathematics.

What is Emory Math Circle?

Emory Math Circle is a free math enrichment program for middle and high school students (grades 6 - 12) in the Atlanta area. Our goal is to teach students how to think both logically and creatively while sparking and developing in them a passion for mathematics. We offer different levels of classes, each of which meets six times per semester in Emory's Math and Science Center or online. Currently, our instructors are all PhD students at Emory or Georgia Tech.

During a typical lesson, students will arrive, check in, and be given a warm-up activity to work on. These are generally short problems that will help refresh them on the background skills they will need for that day's lesson. When the lesson begins, the instructor will describe some problem, puzzle, concept, or game to the class, and let the students explore it in groups. The lessons in our classes are not designed to follow any particular curriculum, and they do not usually build on each other, so if a student misses a day of class, they will not be lost during the next class. We pick lessons that expose our students to topics they likely haven't seen in school (though we regularly rely on subjects they've learned in school, like factoring, algebra, etc., to discuss our topics). It is common for students to leave our lessons with some questions still unanswered, but with the tools to go home and continue thinking about the problem on their own.

Emory Math Circle charges no fees for student enrollment. We do however rely on donations, and for families who can afford to give, we recommend $30 per student. You can donate by clicking the link in the top right corner of the page.