Math Circles Go Virtual
Dalhousie University Math Circles have been a longstanding enrichment outing for our KES mathletes for years. Although our current pandemic restrictions prevent us from attending Math Circles in person, it was great news to hear that Dalhousie University would bring their Math Circles to us via Zoom! This past Wednesday evening, Tom Potter, a PhD mathematics student at Dalhousie University, delivered an interactive problem-solving seminar for interested math students. Problem solving is an integral part of mathematics (and life!). During the Zoom presentation, students tackled a series of fun problems and shared their ideas and observations online. There were interesting questions that generated lively discussion: Can you become a better problem solver? What are common pitfalls? What constitutes a real problem? What about problem posing? Grade 9 students Harrison Klein, Tanvi Manchineni and Lucas Martin, along with Grade 7 student William Larder, were participants in this math event, and I commend them for their interest and contributions. As William told me in a conversation the following day, the experience taught him to approach problems in a different way and literally “think outside of the box”. Altering the way we think about problems is, in itself, a solution strategy. He pointed out that there were two styles of problem solving presented: mechanical problems that were rooted in abstract algebraic reasoning; and logic problems which were clever puzzlers that demanded creative and critical approaches. William provided one of the puzzle examples: Given a 3-by-3 array of dots, is it possible to connect all of the dots, using only 4 line segments and without lifting your pencil off the paper? Of course, he figured out the solution included here. Math Circles sessions are a wonderful form of enrichment and challenge. I encourage interested math students to join the next virtual Dalhousie Math Circles event on Wednesday, December 16th.
KES inspires academic, athletic and artistic excellence with a commitment to the traditional community ideals of gentleness and learning, dignity and respect, so that students may discover and cultivate their unique potential, prepare for post-secondary education and develop a life-long enthusiasm for the spiritual and intellectual growth necessary to flourish in the contemporary world.