Surprised by math

Math circles, which bring together professional mathematicians and young students, have been a part of mathematical culture in Russia since the 1930s and in Bulgaria for nearly a century. Washington University’s math circle, founded in 2002, gives kids a chance to meet a mathematician and to absorb his or her adventuresome and imaginative approach to solving problems.

Curricula that engages students is key to solving nation’s math education problem

Courtesy NASA/JPL-CaltechEngaging students in the power of mathematics is key to a strong curriculum.As parents are taking advantage of back-to-school sales and stocking up on supplies like calculators, pens and pencils, a math education expert at Washington University in St. Louis suggests they also may want to check out the quality of their children’s math education. According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the United States continues to lag further behind other developed nations in mathematics education. A critical part of the solution, says Jere Confrey, Ph.D., professor of education in Arts & Sciences, is for school districts to select and implement a solid curriculum with interesting, compelling and rigorous mathematics and then to carefully monitor and evaluate students’ progress while using that curriculum.