Advanced Summer Program for students age 11-14
who show high promise and love mathematics


Questions & Answers

The MathPath Experience

1. The first week of MathPath conflicts with a long-planned family trip to visit grandparents in our home country, and the last week conflicts with another camp. Can my daughter attend for the middle 2 weeks?

A. No. It doesn't matter what the reasons are, or which weeks you ask to skip. While at one time we had a 2-week program, now attendance for 2-weeks or even 3 weeks is simply not allowed. Students must attend for the full 4 weeks.

Administratively the 2-week option was a complication for us and these days we can easily fill up our program with 4-weekers. But most important, almost every student who came for 2 weeks, including students who had not been to any sleepover camp before, told us in the their evaluations that they wish they had stayed for 4. As it says in the quotes section of our 2012 brochure:

   "MathPath was great. I almost forgot about my family."

   "At first I wasn't so sure I wanted to come, but now I wish I never had to leave."

2. Would it be possible to get more information about what is expected of the students who attend Math Path and what is presented to them? For example, could I see sample problems or notes from a class or the name of a book, etc.

A. There is no specific knowledge we expect students to have in advance. We do expect them to love math and do well enough on our Qualifying Test; and during camp we expect them to continue to show their love of math by being attentive, respectful and hardworking. In the four-week program, we build up their mathematical foundations in the following manner.

  • Show them the proper way of writing mathematics;
  • Emphasize mathematical proof;
  • Provide a broad view of mathematics, including its historical development, core topics not often covered in school, and even presentations on some current research topics;
  • Prepare students who wish it for future mathematics competitions – particularly MATHCOUNTS and AMC exams.

Generally we don't use books in courses; teachers hand out problem sets. But many excellent books are mentioned or displayed.

As to the type of problems that the students work on, it depends on the course. We have collections of MATHCOUNTS problems from local to national. The Qualifying Test provides examples of other sorts of problem types and levels we provide. See what we expect of students on the QT here. You can get an idea of the nature and level of our program by looking at the titles of past plenaries and at the most recent breakout courses catalog. You can access this information by starting here.

We have not published notes or problem sets for individual courses because a) we regard them as belonging to the individual instructors, not to MathPath; b) they change from year to year; and c) students who take the courses get to bring home anything the instructor hands out. But perhaps in time we will post samples from some of the core courses that get repeated in some form each year.

3. Will there be individual attention that can meet students at their points of strength and weakness?

A. Yes! We get to know "where students are at" pretty quickly, and can encourage them to take breakout courses at the right level. (When several courses are offered in parallel, we call them breakouts.) Often we give courses a star rating. The more stars, the more background and mathematical sophistication required. And students are always welcome to talk to us one-on-one about advanced math they are thinking about. All that being said, students are not assigned an academic advisor, and you as parents can encourage your child to talk to his/her counselor and first-week teachers to help him/her make the best breakout choices in weeks 2-4.

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