# We are very excited to offer Math Circles!

What's a Math Circle?

Here's how we'll define it (borrowing heavily from the National Association of Math Circles):

Math Circles bring K-12 students together with mathematically sophisticated teachers in an informal setting, after school or on weekends, to work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics **that are not usually covered in school**.

The Mindspire™ Math Circle combines significant content with a setting that encourages a sense of discovery and excitement about mathematics through problem solving and interactive exploration. Problems are low-threshold, high-ceiling; they offer a variety of entry points and can be approached with minimal mathematical background, but lead to deep mathematical concepts and can be connected to advanced mathematics.

Currently, we have two Math Circle courses, one for students ages 7-9, and another for students aged 10-12. Students simply need to be interested in math. They do not have to be "top" math students -- this is **not a competitive atmosphere** at all, but rather an **inviting, collaborative, and creative exploration of interesting math** problems and puzzles.

This course will be team-taught by Shahar Link, founder of Mindspire™ Tutoring and Test Prep, and several PhD students in Mathematics at UNC and NC State.

Please click here to see our current schedule of Math Circle courses:

**Frequently Asked Questions**

**Would this math circle be a good fit for my child?**

The best students to attend math circles are those who have curiosity and interest in math and science, are ready to think and explore and would like to do extra work in the area of extracurricular math. Having straight A's in math is not a requirement, and it is not the only predictor of your child's success in the circle.

**Is participation in a math circle valuable only for future mathematicians?**

Definitely not. Most of the math circle students will probably not become professional mathematicians, choosing very different career paths instead. The goal of a math circle is to develop reasoning, creativity and problem-solving skills through mathematics. However, mathematics will remain your child's good friend throughout his or her formal education and beyond. Mathematical culture, problem-solving abilities and analytical skills fostered in Math Circles are powerful tools that are vital for success in many professions.

**How do I register my child for the circle?**

Please call our office at 919-335-TEST(8378) to ask about current and upcoming classes.

**Is it possible to try a circle meeting?**

If your child wants to try a math circle session without committing to the circle, she (he) is welcome to. Please contact info@mindspireprep.com and let us know that you are coming. The payment will be required only if your child decides to continue with the circle.

**Is it possible to join the circle in the middle of the school year?**

Usually, we work on one topic for several classes and switch to a new topic every few weeks. However, we try to refresh the old material both in reviews and through the assigned problems. Therefore, it is possible to join in the middle of the school year provided that there is a vacant spot. Your student will be in tune with the new material and will gradually catch up on the past topics.

**Do you offer refunds?**

We offer a 50% refund for the leftover sessions if your child decides to stop the program.

**Would Math Circle improve my child's math grades? Would it train for SAT and ACT? **

Most of the topics studied in math circles are outside of the the regular school-math curriculum. However, participation in a circle will develop an appreciation and positive attitude toward the whole subject of mathematics, school math included.

In addition, school math often concentrates on presenting math facts and algorithms without justifying and explaining them. Math Circles, however, concentrates on explanations and key ideas. Therefore, a circle will enhance the feeling of mathematics as a science where every fact has a meaning and an explanation.

Overall, our students learn how to use their minds better, and when they apply this skill at school, their grades usually go up.

**Would my child have homework?**

At almost every session, the students get a new set of problems to work on. The unsolved part of this problem set constitutes a home assignment.

**Can parents sit in on the classes?**

Parents are welcome to observe a class. However, we have a few rules. Having too many parents in class could distract both students and teachers. In addition, we want the parents to be the observers and not to interfere with the students' learning process.

**How long are the sessions?**

Most of the sessions last an hour and a half. Sometimes it could take a bit longer to get to a logical stopping point.