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Math Circle at the University of Washington

About UW Math Circle

What is UW Math Circle?

The UW Math Circle is intended for Seattle-area 7th, 8th, and 9th graders with mathematical minds, with the intent of continuing their development in this direction.

The students meet weekly in the Math Circle to engage in a variety of activities. Here, we develop many areas of mathematics, including (but definitely not limited to) logic, graph theory, combinatorics, and geometry. Follow the links at the top of the page for a more detailed breakdown of what's being covered in each meeting.

To reinforce the lessons learned at each Math Circle, weekly homework assignments are given at the end of the meetings. The students are encouraged to delve even further than the problem statement, in order to really get a feel for the solution. To reinforce this behavior, the first hour of each meeting is spent by the students explaining their solutions and methods to their peers, with the listening students free to critique the solutions and offer help when things get confusing.

The last half of the meeting is spent covering new material. We introduce the concepts to the students with a major emphasis on hands-on activities. For the students, this means that much of their time is spent actively engaging in problem-solving, with ample time to ask probing questions to their colleagues and the instructors.

What is UW Math Circle not?

The UW Math Circle is not intended as a math tutoring service. Nor is it a preparation for MathCounts or other similar competitions. As mentioned above, the Math Circle is an opportunity for middle school students who already have a drive for studying mathematics to enrich their comprehension of what math is really all about.

What are the expectations?

An appreciation for all the math that we'll be showing requires an active participation. There are weekly homework assignments in order to highlight the work that was done in each week's meeting. On top of that, a commitment to participate every week in the program is essential for keeping the subject matter at the front of the students' minds. Most importantly, we want everyone involved to have fun!

Who are we?

We are UW math faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and other people interested in spreading the beauty of mathematics.




The UW Math Circle has been featured in the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences newsletter, Perspectives.

Congratulations to our math circle instructors and coordinators on their following recent accomplishments:

Costs Involved

In the past, the UW Math Circle had been offered at no cost, thanks to two grants form the National Science Foundation that supported the Department of Mathematics outreach efforts. The larger of those grants expired in the Spring of 2014. With the majority of our funding now gone, we have to ask families to contribute to the operational expenses of the Math Circle, if they are able to do that. We suggest a donation of $100 per semester. This will cover the very basic needs of the Circle. But any amount your family is able to contribute – large or small – will help.

To make a donation, follow this link. Please make your donation by the third week of class in the and then again in the Winter. This will help us with our financial planning. Your donation is tax-deductible and might be matched by your employer. Please talk to Julia Pevtsova if you think this is a possibility.

Details on NSF support: NSF CAREER grant DMS-0953011, NSF Research and Training Grant DMS-0838212, and NSF grant DMS-1501146.