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Problem solved. The Kittitas Valley Math Circle (KVMC) program will reopen later this month. The face-to-face spring quarter program was erased because of COVID-19, but a quick recalculation helped make the numbers work.
“We have five mentors (students) from Teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) who are developing lessons for a series of YouTube videos,” said Brandy Wiegers, Central Washington University math professor and KVMC director. “They’re making use of things that you will have at home, for which there is no associated cost.”
While it’s not yet known how many students will participate in the virtual math circles, between 45 and 60 students take part in the program during a typical year.
“Some of the students have been working with the people who will be on the videos all year, and they miss them,” Wiegers said. “This will be a chance for them to see and hear them.”
That sense of community is a key component of the National Association of Math Circles (NAMC) concept, for which Wiegers was the founding director. Wiegers helped introduce the national model when she arrived at CWU five years ago. KVMC is a mentor circle for others in the area.
“The goal is to learn problem-solving skills to gain ability to reason and logic through math problems,” she added. “We engage in problem solving together to figure it out together. We really want to create a community where it’s safe to say out loud, ‘I like mathematics.’”
The program is offered, in both English and Spanish, to elementary and middle school students.
“All of the circles are interactive and designed to encourage students and their parents, siblings, or guardians to play games together and then talk about what the students are discovering,” Wiegers said. “We hope this will be a fun treat for students and their families.”
Because of unpredictable travel conditions, Wiegers notes what is learned this spring on how to best present virtual math circles may be used for future winter programs.
Media contact: Robert Lowery, Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, Robert.Lowery@cwu.edu
Photo: Sam Wilson leading one of the virtual math circles. She has been helping with KVMC for more than a year. Wilson will graduate next year with a degree in middle level math education and minors in accessibility studies, STEM teaching, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
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