Information for Teachers
The Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving (SPMPS) is a free three-week residential program for underserved New York City middle school students with talent in math. Students will be invited to explore interesting mathematics in a safe environment, surrounded by peers from similar backgrounds who are developing a love of mathematics. The academic schedule will be complemented with intense social activities to build a strong community.
|Ages||Students must be in the summer between 7th and 8th grade.|
|Dates||July 7-July 28, 2013.|
|Location||Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Transportation will be provided to and from New York City.|
|Qualification||Students must be attending a school where at least 75% of the student body receives free lunch, or speak with us about an exemption. All students must also meet with SPMPS staff for an interview.|
|Program Size||40 students will be accepted for summer 2012.|
|Academics||Approximately 7 hours of mathematics per day, including problem-solving and skill-building sessions, creative and advanced mathematical topics, and computer programming. Instructors are top teachers and mathematicians from diverse backgrounds drawn from across the country.|
|Non-academics||Each day includes structured social time with residential counselors and free time. Weekend field trips may include optional hiking, amusement park, or stargazing trips in addition to other weekend activities. (Students who wish to stay on-campus may do so.)|
|Student:staff ratio||Approximately 2:1.|
How to Nominate a Student
Please contact us. Each school may nominate up to 6 students for the program. We will provide material for interested students and in certain cases may be able to do an information session for families at your school. Once you have nominated students for the program, we will set up a time during March, April, or May to visit the school and meet with students for 20-30 minutes each. We can schedule this at the most convenient time for you (for example, avoiding times of heavy exam preparation).
The ideal student is one who naturally "gets it" in math. We're not necessarily looking for the student who is perfect about homework and memorizes all the formulas, but rather the student who figures out how to do the problem before you've even explained it! (Of course, being responsible about homework is a plus, and we recommend nominating your top math students.)
If you are not sure if you have a student that is right for our program, we are happy to discuss it with you.
Once nominated, all students must complete a 20-minute interview. It is not meant to be intimidating: we'll mostly talk about the student's interest in math and the program. We'll also give them a puzzle to observe their reasoning skills and determination, and a couple of math questions to ensure they have the necessary background.
We're looking to find students who will take this opportunity seriously and who show insight on and are willing to stick through difficult puzzles. We're also looking for the students who really like math and thirst for an opportunity like this one.
Required Mathematical Background
The program is designed to work for the bright student who has not had the opportunity to study advanced math. At a minimum, students must be comfortable with basic arithmetic including adding and multiplying fractions. All other material will be covered as necessary.
We aim to build students' mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills, as well as their capacity for abstract material. We also aim to get students interested in mathematics: to show them what it is like to chase an interesting problem and fall in love with the topic they're studying.
The specific curriculum will be based on the interests of the instructors, but students will be able to choose between combinatorics, number theory, some computer programming, and some algebra. Although this material is advanced, it is chosen not to require anything more than the math that students have already seen.
Please get in touch! We'll answer e-mails promptly and are happy to talk further by phone or in-person.