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

Academic Program

Many people ask before applying: What is the curriculum?

The short answer is: We don't have a fixed curriculum. We provide enrichment, not acceleration, so there is no particular place we have to begin or need to end.

Of course, our program has many common elements from year to year, and we have developed a format that works well for this age group and the variety in the background of the students.

So the longer answer is: The academic program has 3 parts:

  • plenaries (interactive lectures that everyone attends),
  • breakouts (hands-on smaller classes), and
  • informal activities.

There are 3 plenaries each day: 50 minutes on math history, 50 minutes on some mathematical topic, often given by a distinguished visitor, and 20 minutes on solutions to the Qualifying Test, where we analyze and critique varieties of mathematical writing.

The breakout courses usually run for a week each. There are two breakout periods each day, one in the morning between plenaries and one in the afternoon. Typically 6 courses are offered in parallel during each breakout period and students usually get their first or second choice.

Perhaps half the breakout topics change from year to year, depending on the interests of the instructors. The other half are on topics every budding mathematician should know even if they are not taught in school These include number theory, mathematical induction, combinatorics, and various sorts of geometry. We also provide competition practice breakouts each year at various levels.

The informal activities include a Problem of the Day that students are challenged to solve (with prizes), free time where students can work on problems they find particularly interesting or talk to staff about math, and math games on the weekends.

Breakouts give a modest amount of homework. A student's required homework for both breakouts should not be more than an hour, and can be accomplished during Math Conferencing Time in the evening. However, there are often optional problems, and many students want to think about mathematics during their free time.

There are no grades at MathPath.

For more on the breakouts in 2016, click here.

For a list of plenaries in 2016, click here.

Page last updated October 9, 2016
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