WHAT IS MATHPATH?
MathPath is a four-week residential Summer Program for students showing high promise and interest in mathematics to extend their knowledge and skills in mathematics and to immerse them in the mathematical culture. All students should be in the age range of 11 to 14 years.
Most students applying to MathPath are either attending grade 6–8 at the time of application, or are homeschooled. Some students are in grade 9 or even higher, especially for their math courses. So long as students satisfy our age requirement they can be attending any grade.
How each student gets a program that suits their level of knowledge, skill, and gift.
Students find the right level through their freedom to choose breakouts.
Breakouts are small classes on a single topic lasting one week.
There are three types of breakouts: foundations, special topics, and competitions.
Except for special sessions like the hour of visiting speaker lecture, or the 50 minutes of math history, or the 30 minutes of Qualifying Test discussion, the daily class schedule has several of these breakouts running in parallel.
Students sign up for one breakout in each breakout time slot.
Each breakout has a star rating – 1-star through 4-star.
The more stars, the more background you need and the more sophistication in the mathematics covered.
In the mid-morning period, say you sign up for a 2-star course, and it turns out on the easy side (but hopefully still quite interesting – how valuable a course is is not the same as how hard it is). Next week try a 3-star course.
This freedom to move up or down not only provides a tailor-made program for each student but also makes the program neither too easy for the grade 8 student nor too tough for the grade 6 student.
An enrichment program, not an acceleration program.
Students should not expect to place out of any courses in schools or universities based on MathPath work. The emphasis is on enrichment.
As described earlier, there are three kinds of courses, but they are all aimed at enrichment. The topics courses sometimes overlap with topics in university courses, but they do not attempt to cover the entirety of those courses. Rather they introduce some of the ideas, often in a concrete hands-on way appropriate for young kids, that will help them have a background feel for the subject if they take it later as a university course. For instance, the MathPath weeklong course called Taming the Torus does lots of experiments with tori (donuts), including proving you need up to 7 colors to color a graph on a torus, but does not attempt to systematically develop the algebraic topology of the torus or other surfaces.
MathPath is conducted at a university campus and moves annually in an orbit of campuses. The intensity of mathematics is balanced by the fun of student participation in evening field games and weekend trips to natural and local attractions.
Page last updated April 10, 2017
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