Summer Programs

Strategic Math Jr. (Gr 4 – 6)

This program was initiated by teachers and mathematicians through the support of the Pacific Institute of Mathematics Sciences (PIMS) at UBC. They saw that students were entering university inadequately prepared for the big jump between high school and university math, and set out to change this.

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Strategic Math Junior is the precursor to Strategic Math, geared towards students entering Grades 4 - 6 in September.

Become skillful with numbers for success in school and beyond! In Strategic Math, students will learn clever techniques to do seemingly hard computations with ease and joy. Children learn a series of 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 kids (and adults) grabbing for their calculators, or rolling their eyes at the long chain of “borrowing” that is required to do it manually.

A simple but clever solution is to add 2 to both numbers and change the question to something much more manageable: 4005 - 2000 = ?

This would have most kids (and adults) grabbing for their calculators, or rolling their eyes at the long chain of “borrowing” that is required to do it manually.

A simple but clever solution is to add 2 to both numbers and change the question to something much more manageable: 4005 - 2000 = ?

Why is it important to learn mental math?

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.

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

Through in-class and take-home activities, students will be able to recognize and apply a variety of strategies for flexible computation. Children will also come to understand why and how these strategies work, gaining a better understanding of place value, mathematical operations, and basic number properties.

Program Details

Who is Strategic Math Junior for?

This program is designed for students entering Grades 4 - 6 in September, including both those who have attended Math Circles in the past and those who have not.

Who teaches Strategic Math Junior?

Dr. Natasa Sirotic, co-founder of Math Potentials.

What is the program curriculum?

Working with multi-digit whole numbers and powers of ten, students learn powerful techniques to perform basic operations on seemingly difficult problems. The course presents a coherent curriculum as new strategies build on past ones. It is not a series of isolated/standalone strategies."Mental Math in the Middle Grades" by R. Reys is used for this course.

Schedule Summer 2024

Time: 4:30pm - 5pm

Days: Tuesdays and Fridays

Location: Online

Days: Tuesdays and Fridays

Location: Online

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Hear what parents, students, and teachers have to say about Math Circles.

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Hannah Hwang

Parent

"When I was in the high school what I did most in math classes was memorize formulas and do lots of calculations. I was blessed to find the Math Circles program. I loved the way of approaching the concepts, and I learned a lot from the materials along with my daughter. Thanks so much for providing such a wonderful program to our kids."

Gordon Hamilton

Math Educator

"Let us not equate mathematics and arithmetic; let us not equate applying algorithms and thinking. Math Circles explores mathematics that is worthy of the human intellect. It's not trying to make math easy, but celebrates the challenge of struggling with a tough problem."

Robert Huang

Graduate

"After graduating, I went to University of Waterloo and am studying Statistics. I think Math Circles helped me a lot, especially with regards to tackling a problem from multiple perspectives, which was a skill that I use a lot in both my academic work and professional work."

Simon Kim

Parent

"Once again, Andrew had a wonderful year with Math Potentials. Thank you very much for all your hard work! Andrew has gone from being very intimidated by math to feeling quite confident(sometimes boastful ha ha) and comfortable with it. He got all As last report card, and was recommended to Grade 9 Math because he had finished Grade 8 by December, so in Grade 9, he will be taking Gr10 Math."

Other programs

Science Circles

Enrichment math program where students develop their curiosity about the world and learn scientific way of thought needed to understand the natural phenomena of the physical world.

Gateway Math

Students learn how to solve challenging, multi-step word problems with understanding and confidence through the use of a visual problem-solving method.

Strategic Math

Become skillful with numbers for success in school and beyond! Students learn a series of clever techniques to do seemingly hard computations with ease and joy.