Journal of Math Circles Panel

Math Circles in Times of Physical Distancing

Description: Panelists will share engaging mathematical activities, as well as reflections about facilitating these activities online and/or in a socially distanced format. Following short, interactive presentations there will be time for a panel discussion and questions from the audience.


Anne M. Ho

Title: Balancing the Familiar with the Unknown

Overview: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves inundated with thoughts about the “new normal” as we consider virtual and socially distanced events. However, incorporating familiar components alongside new technologies and formats is a critical factor in participant engagement. Using basic elements of User Experience (UX) design as a framework, I will discuss specific successes and challenges from Math Teachers’ Circle events as well as recommendations that can generalize to other programs.

Javier Ronquillo-Rivera

and Ramya Ramaswamy

Title: Creating a Virtual BEAM Community: a Summer of Math and Memes 


Overview: BEAM’s mission is to create pathways for underserved students to become scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists. Every year, BEAM offers in-person summer programs for 6th and 7th grade students where they engage with challenging and collaborative mathematics all while building a close-knit community.  When BEAM made the decision to move 2020 summer programs online, the challenge became: can we do the deep and interactive mathematics we usually do with students and build a vibrant community in the virtual setting?


During this panel we will share how we structured our virtual summer programs, share examples of engaging virtual math activities for middle schoolers, and reflect, through the feedback that BEAM received from staff and students, on how the summer went.

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Gordon Hamilton

Title: Mini-Mathematical-Universes


Overview: Mini-Mathematical-Universes are the best way to teach the scientific method. When you come to this presentation you will be playing the game collaboratively with everyone else. Poke around like scientists trying to discover the laws of the Mini-Mathematical-Universe you find yourselves in.

Mini-Mathematical-Universes were inspired by Robert Abbott's Eleusis (Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column, June 1959) and Sid Sackson's Patterns II (Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column, November 1969.) 

Sloan Despeaux

Title: T-Shirts, Zumba, and Desmos: Ways to Reach out to Teachers in North Carolina and Beyond


Overview: In this talk, I’ll discuss ways that we have reached out to members of our NC Network of MTCs during the pandemic. Instead of our annual “Math Camp” for teachers this summer, we joined other MTCs under the umbrella of AIM’s MTC Online Workshop in July. We loved connecting with others around the country but implemented several strategies for keeping connections between NC teachers. These strategies included mailing participants NC MTC t-shirts to wear on camera and a day full of activities on the Wednesday “local day” of the week. We’ve used the momentum from this online summer workshop to roll us into fall online workshops. 


Hosted by the Journal of Math Circles (JMC)

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