Strategic Math

Registration for Strategic Math Part 1 - Summer 2021 will begin in early May.

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In Strategic Math, you will learn clever techniques to do seemingly hard computations with ease and joy. Become skillful with numbers for success in school and beyond! In this course, students learn 25 clever techniques for simplifying computational problems and avoiding unpleasant calculations. These techniques build on each other throughout the course, forming a well connected, coherent curriculum.

As an example, consider the following question: 4003 - 1998 = ?

This would have most people grabbing for their calculators, or rolling their eyes at the long chain of “borrowing” that is required to do it manually. A simple solution is to add 2 to both numbers and change the question to something much more manageable: 4005 - 2000 = ? 

Why is this significant?

Being able to calculate in your head is a practical life skill. The benefit extends to written computations as well, making them easier and quicker. Proficiency in mental math contributes to increased skill in estimation, which is essential for checking the reasonableness of an answer obtained using a calculator.

Students develop computational thinking and number sense, which are the bases for many fields, including AI, data science, and machine learning. 

Beyond being able to recognize and apply a variety of strategies for flexible computation, students will come to understand why these work and how, gaining a better understanding of place value, mathematical operations, and basic number properties.

Program Details

Who is Strategic Math for? This program is designed for students entering Grades 7 - 12 in September, including both those who have attended Math Circles in the past and those who have not.

Teachers: Taught by Dr. Natasa Sirotic, co-founder of Math Potentials

Curriculum: The book "Mental Math in Junior High" by R. Reys is used for this course. Extending from whole numbers to decimals to fractions, the course presents a coherent curriculum as new strategies build on past ones. It is not a series of isolated/standalone strategies. In Strategic Math - Part 2, we will be tackling the strategies that were not covered in Part 1.

Structure: Strategic Math is offered in two parts; Part 1 in the summer and Part 2 in the fall. In Strategic Math - Part 2, students build upon the techniques they learned over the summer with new computational strategies to achieve complete numerical fluency. Part 2 is open to all students who complete Strategic Math Part 1 in the summer.


Classes in this summer program are 1 hour long, twice a week. They are conducted virtually through Zoom. 

The detailed class schedule will be posted before registration opens in early May 2021.