# The Harmony Learning Community Blog

News, Updates, Program Recaps, and Homeschooling Information

### Math Circle Spring Registration Now Open

Math Circle is a way of introducing complex mathematical concepts to young students in a way that is not only interesting, but exhilarating. Based on the model used in the Harvard-based program founded by Robert and Ellen Kaplan 18 years ago, our Math Circle is let by Mt. Airy mathematician Rodi Steinig. The concept is based on Kaplan’s believe that “the appetite for real math, done neither competitively nor scholastically but as the most exciting of the arts, is enormous” and that “removing any question of time – or achievement – pressure lets understanding and technique blossom.”

In a Math Circle, students are not taught algorithms to solve problems. Rather, they are presented with mathematical challenges, often along with the historical context in which the problem was first encountered. Students then work collaboratively with their peers in a facilitated discussion to arrive at an answer.

Math Circles exist all over the country, but our Math Circle is the first in the immediate Philadelphia area. Rodi, who has a M.Ed and is a Pennsylvania state certified teacher, spent a week last summer training directly with the Kaplans, and has received national attention since she launched the Talking Stick Math Circle in 2011.

This spring, we will continue to explore the themes of truths and proofs in all of our Math Circles.

LOGIC AND MATHEMATICS: What is true, what is false, and how can you prove it? What are assumptions? If you can deduce the rule for a function, can you find its inverse function? Does every function have an inverse? We will use story problems and function machines to explore these important concepts. (You need to know what truth is to meaningfully understand why it is true.) This 6-week course for children who are 8, or very close to 8, or younger 9-year-olds. We will also do a 2-week study of these concepts with 6-7 year olds on February 26 and March 5.

PROOFS:  How do you know for sure that the commutative property works?  In other words, can you prove that ab=ba?  And can we really trust the Pythagorean Theorem?  And how many prime numbers are there anyway?  Is it okay to take things on faith in mathematics?  We will do formal proofs collaboratively to begin to understand the underlying foundations of mathematics.  Humans have an inherent desire to seek structure.  Proofs can satisfy this architectural instinct.  It can be very powerful for a teenager to successfully prove something – to know that something is absolutely true, no matter what, no ifs ands or buts.  This 7-week, extended-time course for teenagers (13-18) requires a basic ability to use variables, and will run from April 16 – May 28.

Register here

Age: 8
Time: 3:30pm - 4:25pm
Tuesdays: 1/15 - 2/19
Tuition: \$120 / 6 weeks
Tuition (Sibling): \$108 / 6 weeks
Topic: Logic, functions and their inverses

Ages: 6 & 7
Time: 3:30pm - 4:25pm
Tuesdays: 2/26 - 3/15
Tuition: \$40 / 2 weeks
Tuition (Sibling): \$36 / 2 weeks

Ages: 13 to 18
Time: 3:30pm - 4:40pm
Tuesdays: 4/16 - 5/28
Tuition: \$180 / 7 weeks
Tuition (Sibling): \$160 / 7 weeks