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Math Circle

Academics / Departments & Programs / Mathematics & Statistics / Math Circle

The Calvin University Math Circle is an opportunity for 6th–8th grade students (typically 11–13 years old) to engage with exciting problems and topics in mathematics. Meetings are led by a professor in the Calvin math department and typically begin with a warmup activity or game that leads into the day's problem or topic. The Math Circle seeks to generate enthusiasm for problem-solving in mathematics. Students also discover applications of mathematics and participate in a community that nurtures critical thinking, communication, and abstraction. If you have questions about whether Math Circle may be right for your student, please call or send email!

Time & Location

We meet at Calvin University in North Hall 276. For Winter 2023 we will meet Monday afternoons from January 30 through March 20 (eight sessions). Parking is available in Lot 5 (west of the engineering building) and Lot 6 (west of the aquatic center).

  • 3:45–4:00 p.m.: setup and arrival
  • 4:00–5:15 p.m.: main activity
  • 5:15pm: dismissal

Cost & Application

  • Updated March 21, 2023:  The Winter 2023 program is complete, and the program will run next in Fall Semester.  If you'd like to be added to our email list for future announcements, please send email to mike.bolt@calvin.edu. 
  • Tuition is $80 per semester
  • Registration (for Winter 2023) is via Eventbrite (starting Nov. 2)
  • At the first meeting please bring a signed copy of the consent form

Calendar (Winter 2023)​

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Monday, January 30 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Number Bracelets Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, February 6 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Water Jugs and UPCs Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, February 13  4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Modular Bracelets Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, February 20 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Frogs and Toads Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, February 27 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Folding Shapes Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, March 6 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Four Numbers Game Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, March 13 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Squares and More Squares Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, March 20 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276  Ruler Game  Prof. Mike Bolt

Calendar (Fall 2022)​

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Monday, September 26 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Consecutive Sums Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, October 3 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Mirror, Mirror Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, October 10  4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Taxman Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, October 17 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Pennies and Paperclips Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, October 24 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Amida-Kuji Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, October 31 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Dragon Fractal Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, November 7 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Fractals Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, November 14 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Josephus Problem             Prof. Mike Bolt

Calendar (Winter 2022)​

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Monday, January 31 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Pentomino Puzzles    Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, February 7 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Pile Splitting Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, February 14  4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Four Fours Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, February 21 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Bubbling Cauldrons Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, February 28 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Mondrian Squares Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, March 7 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Rational Tangles  Prof. Dave Klanderman  
Monday, March 14 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Optimal Die Prof. Randy Pruim
Monday, March 21 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Days of the Week Prof. Mike Bolt     

Calendar (Fall 2021)​

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Tuesday, September 28 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 New Recruits Prof. Jan Koop
Tuesday, October 5 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Multiplier Graphs Prof. Mike Bolt
Tuesday, October 12 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Factors and Multiples Prof. Jan Koop
Tuesday, October 19 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Last One Standing Prof. Mike Bolt 
Tuesday, October 26 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 One-Cut Figures Prof. Jan Koop
Tuesday, November 2 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Take Away Prof. Mike Bolt 
Tuesday, November 9 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Skyscraper Puzzles Prof. Jan Koop
Tuesday, November 16 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Domino Circles Prof. Mike Bolt

Calendar (Winter 2020)

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Monday, February 3 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Frogs and Toads Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, February 10 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Amida-Kuji Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, February 17 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Josephus Problem Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, Ferbuary 24 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Folding Shapes Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, March 2 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Pennies & Paperclips Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, March 9 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 Squares and More Squares Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, March 16 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 *canceled due to pandemic*
Monday, March 23 4:00–5:15 p.m. NORTH HALL 276 *canceled due to pandemic*

Additional Info

The Math Circle is an enrichment activity that explores topics generally outside the regular mathematics curriculum.  It is for 6th-8th grade students (typically 11-13 years old) who are interested in problem-solving and applications.

Program directors are Professors Mike Bolt (mdb7@calvin.edu) and Jan Koop (kooj@calvin.edu).

The Calvin University Math Circle was formed in Fall 2017 and is supported by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of College Access Programs.

Math Circles originated in Russia in the 1930s, appeared in the United States in the 1990s, and are promoted by the National Association of Math Circles.  Nearby circles include the Michigan Math Circle (Ann Arbor, MI) and the Maize & Blue Math Circle (Dearborn, MI).  

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