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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Ginnie Graham: Girls create formula for success in math circle

Follow on Twitter as @GinnieGraham
Middle school students have fun in a University of Tulsa-led project that shows how math is really about logic, group work and unusual thinking." reports Ginnie Graham, News Columnist.

Math isn’t supposed to look like this.

It’s supposed to be full of numbers and formulas, and completed in silence with a strict right-or-wrong result. It’s supposed to be boring.

That’s not what I saw at the University of Tulsa in a new Girls’ Math Circle hosted by the Department of Mathematics. For two hours, a classroom of middle-school girls discussed, debated and worked through problems featuring more words than numbers. They were animated, engaged and came up with solutions I never would have considered.

“It’s a different kind of math,” said 12-year-old Ariana Sayeed of Jenks. “This is more logic and thinking outside the box. Here, I can talk freely with friends and ask questions to understand why a problem has an answer. I can have a conversation about it.”

Dynamic circles: Math circles have gained popularity in the last 15 years as an academic enrichment program. They team students with professional mathematicians to work together on problems.

Donna Farrior, visiting associate professor of mathematics at TU, is the force behind this circle. She is the kind of teacher every child should have. She not only makes the lessons fun, she treats kids as equals with a patient and infectious humor.

The STEM professions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics need qualified workers, particularly women. So, we need to hook girls on the concepts. That’s the point of this circle.
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Additional resources

The Tulsa Girls’ Math Circle (PDF)
Now accepting applications for the Winter 2014/15 quarter. Applications are due by January 6, 2015

Source: Tulsa World

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