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Prime Factor Math Circle

 

Prime Factor Math Circle: frequently asked questions


Would this math circle be a good fit for my child?
Is participation in a math circle valuable only for future mathematicians?
How do I register my child for the circle?
Is it possible to join the circle in the middle of the school year?
Is it possible to try a circle meeting?
How do I pay the tuition? Do you offer refunds?
Would math circle prepare for the Math Kangaroo Contest?
Would math circle prepare for the UW Math Hour Olympiad?
Would math circle improve my child's math grades?
Would my child have homework?
Can parents sit in on the classes?
How long are the sessions?
How is Prime Factor related to the Northwest Academy of Sciences?

Would this math circle be a good fit for my child?
The best students to attend math circle are those students who have curiosity and interest in math and science, are ready to think and explore and would like to do extra work in the area of extracurricular math. Having straight A's in math is not a requirement, and also it is  not the one and only predictor of your child's success in the circle.

Is participation in a math circle valuable only for future mathematicians?
Definitely not. Most of the math circle students will probably not become professional mathematicians, choosing very different career paths instead. The goal of a math circle is to develop reasoning, creativity and problem-solving skills through mathematics. However, mathematics will remain your child's good friend throughout his or her formal education and beyond. Mathematical culture, problem-solving abilities and analytical skills fostered in Math Circles are powerful tools that are vital for success in many professions.

How do I register my child for the circle?
Please visit the registration page.

Is it possible to try a circle meeting?
If your child wants to try a math circle session without committing to the circle, she (he) is welcome to. Please contact info@pfmathcircle.org and let us know that you are coming.

Is it possible to join the circle in the middle of the school year?
Usually, we work on one topic for several classes and switch to a new material every few weeks.
We do have certain continuity in the curriculum: some topics and problems rely on the ideas and techniques from the past sessions. At the same time, we try to refresh the old material both in reviews and through the assigned problems.
Therefore, it is possible to join in the middle of the school year provided that there is a vacant spot in the circle you are interested in. Your student will be in tune with the new material and will gradually catch up on the past topics.

How do I pay the tuition? Do you offer refunds?
We accept payments by check or cash, at the beginning of each semester. For those students who are new to math circles, we prefer that they know what “circle-style” mathematics is about prior to committing to the class. Therefore, we want you to pay the tuition only after your child has attended a circle session and after he/she has made up his/her mind whether he/she wants to be a math circle student. We also offer a full refund for the leftover sessions if your child decides to stop the program.

Would Math Circle prepare for the Math Kangaroo Contest?
The Math Kangaroo competition include plenty of interesting and creative problems. Even that the curriculum of our math circle is wider that the scope of topics covered in Kangaroo, we’ll work on a lot of Kangaroo-style problems.

Would Math Circle prepare for the UW Math Hour Olympiad?
The UW Math Hour Olympiad is a great thinker-style math Olympiad that is open to middle-school students of Seattle area. Our math circles curriculum emphasizes problems and theoretical topics that develop math reasoning, logics, and creative thinking. That is precisely what is expected from the UW Math Hour participants.

Would Math Circle improve my child's math grades? Would it train for SAT and ACT?
Most of the topics studied in math circles are outside of the the regular school-math curriculum. However, participation in a circle will develop appreciation and positive attitude toward the whole subject of mathematics, school math included.
In addition, school math often concentrates on presenting math facts and algorithms without justifying and explaining them. On the contrary, math circle concentrates on explanations and key ideas. Therefore, a circle will enhance the feeling of mathematics as a science where every fact has a meaning and an explanation.
Overall, our students learn how to use their brains better, and when they apply this skill at school, their grades usually go up.

Would my child have homework?
At almost every session, the students get a new set of problems to work on. The unsolved part of this problem set constitutes a home assignment.

Can parents sit in on the classes?
Parents are welcome to observe a class. However, we have a few rules. Having too many parents in class could distract both students and teachers. In addition, we want the parents to be the observers and not to interfere with the students' learning process.

How long are the sessions?
Most of the sessions last an hour and a half. Sometimes it could take a bit longer to get to a logical stopping point.

How is Prime Factor related to the Northwest Academy of Sciences?
The Northwest Academy of Sciences is an organization that hosts the existing system of the volunteer-run math classes. It is also the host of the local chapter of Math Kangaroo competition. The Prime Factor is a direct spin-off of the Northwest Academy. The idea behind the creation of Prime Factor is to expand the network of Math Circles that are available to Seattle area students.

 

As we get more questions, we'll add more answers to this page.




Prime Factor Math Circle is a nonprofit organization. The goal of Prime Factor is to engage school children in the world of extracurricular mathematics with the purpose of developing their math knowledge, problem solving skills and creative thinking abilities. We have a lot of plans and ideas how to grow and expand. We welcome donations and we will put them to a good use.