The Calvin College 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.

Time & Location

We meet at Calvin College in North Hall 282 on Monday afternoons.  For Spring 2018 we will meet from February 19 through March 12 and April 9 through April 30 (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.: arrival and games
  • 4:00–5:20 p.m.: main activity
  • 5:20pm: dismissal 

Cost & Application

  • (update May 14, 2018) Math Circle starts again in September---we will meet again on Monday afternoons.  We hope students from this year participate again in the fall, but we expect there will be new students, too.  So we will have all new topics that don’t necessarily build on previous topics.  
  • Tuition is $80 per semester
  • Registration is via Eventbrite (space limited to 24 students): tickets
  • At the first meeting please bring a signed copy of the consent form: pdf

Calendar (Spring 2018)

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Monday, February 19 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Folding Shapes Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, February 26 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Ruler Game Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, March 5 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Multiplier Graphs Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, March 12 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 New Recruits Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, April 9 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Josephus Problem Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, April 16 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Modular Arithmetic Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, April 23 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Number Bracelets Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, April 30 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 UPC Codes            Prof. Mike Bolt

Calendar (Fall 2017)

DAY TIME ROOM TOPIC PRESENTER
Monday, September 25 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Consecutive Sums Prof. Jan Koop
Monday, October 2 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Pile Division Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, October 9 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 NIM, a mathematical game Prof. Tom Jager
Monday, October 16 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Optimal Dice Prof. Randy Pruim
Monday, October 23 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Criss-Cross Prof. Gerard Venema
Monday, October 30 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Last One Standing Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, November 6 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Binary Numbers Prof. Mike Bolt
Monday, November 13 3:45–5:20 p.m. NORTH HALL 282 Amida-kuji Prof. Jan Koop

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 College Math Circle is supported by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Pre-College 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).