Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MathPath: A Summer Camp for Middle School Mathematicians

Even though it is only February, it is time to be thinking about summer camps and other activities.  Some of the best ones in our area fill up before spring, so you have to apply early to get your child into some of the most popular summer programs.

If you have a middle school child who is gifted in math, you might be interested in MathPath.  This is a national program that provides a 4-week residential math education program at a college campus for students aged 11-14 who show outstanding interest and ability in math.  According to the website, it is unique in the US for providing advanced mathematics summer camp activities geared towards middle school students.

The daily schedule at MathPath contains 3 all-inclusive sessions--1 on math history, 1 on some mathematical topic, and 1 analyzing solutions to test questions.  Then each student choose 2 breakout courses per day (each breakout course runs for 1 week).  This allows students to spend time on the topics and levels that are appropriate to each of them.  Finally, there is unstructured time for informal activities, including the Problem of the Day (prizes available!), talking with staff or guest lecturers, working on interesting problems, or math games.

Each year the program is held at a college campus, which helps prepare students for their postsecondary studies.  This year, the camp will take place at Colorado College in Colorado Spring, CO, from June 26-July 24, 2011.

The cost for the entire camp is $4,500, which I think is reasonable for a 4 week residential camp of this nature, but is still a good chunk of change.  However, there are both merit-based and needs-based scholarships available.

While this is not my arena of expertise--I was an Arts and Humanities gal, not a Math and Sciences woman--people in the math field that I respect say this is a good program.  And while I'm not an expert, it seems pretty unique for this age.  So if you have an 11-14 year old math geek (and I mean that in a good way), then you should at least check it out.

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