August 28, 2019


Math Circle Event

MSU Billings to host fall 2019 Math Circle



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266

MSU BILLINGS NEWS — Montana State University Billings announces the fall 2019 dates of the Math Circle for students in the fourth-to-eighth grades, parents and teachers. Seven free sessions will be offered on alternating Wednesdays beginning on September 11 at 4 p.m. in LA 206.

Mathematics is a fun and vibrant discipline with many avenues for exploration and creativity. The MSUB Math Circle is an outreach activity for students and/or teachers to come and engage in fun and creative math activities to stimulate interest in mathematics. Participants present topics in math that may not be a part of the typical curriculum in a way that focuses on creative thinking, open-ended problem solving and collaboration. Facilitated by MSU Billings math faculty and students, the MSUB Math Circle enters its third year this semester. Its activities have recently been published in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Math Circles.

The schedule for the semester is as follows:

  • Sept. 11: Prime Climb!—Prime climb is a beautiful, colorful and mathematical board game designed for two-to-four players. Participants inspire deeper mathematical understanding while mastering arithmetic.
  • Sept. 25: Sprouts!—Players place dots on a sheet of paper and take turns connecting the dots with vines. With each connection, a new dot “sprouts” on each new vine. The last player to move wins. What does this game tell us about networks and 3-dimensional shapes?
  • Oct. 9: Global Math Week!—James Tanton and the Global Math Project previously introduced “Exploding Dots,” a revolutionary way to re-conceptualize arithmetic. The same team presents a new way of thinking about geometry!
  • Oct. 23: Tiling Torment!—Chessboard puzzles with a twist! How can we tile different boards with different shaped tiles?
  • Nov. 6: Gerrymandering!—suppose that supporters of the Purple and Yellow parties are equally represented in a district. How might district boundaries give an advantage to one party? How can we tell if a map is fair?
  • Nov. 20: Cops and Robbers!—A robber moves from hideout to hideout while evading a cop who is chasing him diligently. Can the robber keep away indefinitely, or will the cop catch him? What if she calls for backup? Will more cops allow her to catch the elusive robber? How do the layouts of the hideouts play into this?
  • Dec. 4: Holiday Math!—in preparation for the holiday season and winter break, we revisit the strange art of folding paper. Can we make a figure with three sides? With six? What sort of symmetries arise from doing so? Learn to make paper snowflakes which can transform themselves. Other holiday math hijinks will ensue and gifts will be given!

Drinks and snacks will be provided to participants in the sessions.

MSU Billings Math Circle is brought to you in part by The Mathematical Association of America, the Dolciani Foundation through the Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant and through the support of the MSRI (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute) Math Circle Mentorship and Partnership Program.

For more information contact Tien Chih, assistant professor of mathematics, at 657-2939 or

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