Community Outreach

The mathematics department has been actively engaged in community outreach for many years and we continue to expand the scope of our outreach programs. Our goal is to provide local students, teachers, and parents opportunities to pursue topics in mathematics that are accessible, interesting, and go beyond the mathematics one typically sees in the classroom. The outreach programs meet on campus every month and are free and open to all interested individuals.

Saturday Morning Math Group

Scenes from community outreach

The Saturday Morning Math Group offers hands-on learning experiences at monthly meetings aimed at middle and high school students. At a typical meeting, a member of the faculty from the mathematics department or a visitor from another department or university leads the audience of students, parents, and teachers in a discussion and exploration of a topic of interest to the speaker.

  • Started in 1993
  • Each meeting attended by 80-120 members of the local community
  • Recognized by the College of Natural Sciences with an Outreach Excellence Award in 2002

In the words of a veteran parent, "SMMG is a wonderful resource for kids who are curious about math ...The lectures present interesting topics that are 'off the beaten path' ... allowing bright kids to explore new mathematical ideas, not just move ahead to what they will be taught next year."

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In addition to the monthly meetings on Saturdays, the Saturday Morning Math Group offers the following opportunities to students in the Austin area:

The Sunday Math Circle

Sunday Math Circle

The Sunday Math Circle was launched with the intent to provide a more intensive problem-solving experience for those students who want additional challenges.

  • Started in 2008
  • Sessions led by graduate students from the mathematics department
  • 20-40 participants per session allowing more direct interaction with the presenter.

American Mathematics Competitions

Saturday Morning Math Group also hosts the American Mathematics Competitions, a series of nationally syndicated math contests, sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. These exams are the first tier of competitions leading to the USA Mathematical Olympiad.

From the AMC website: "The mission of the MAA's American Mathematics Competitions is to increase interest in mathematics and to develop problem solving through a fun competition. Teachers and schools benefit from the chance to challenge students with interesting mathematical questions that are aligned with curriculum standards at all levels of difficulty. In addition, students gain the opportunity to learn and achieve through competition with students in their school and around the world."

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The Math Teachers' Circle of Austin

Math Teachers Circle

Teacher preparation is critical to improving academic rigor in middle and high school mathematics classrooms. The Math Teachers' Circle of Austin was created to allow middle school teachers the opportunity to exercise their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as to build a network of support for those teachers who want to incorporate more problem solving in their mathematics classrooms. Meetings are led by mathematics faculty or visitors and offer the participants the opportunity to delve into problems that stretch their thinking as well as their mathematical knowledge.

The goals of this outreach program are nicely summarized by the following quote from a participant: "I, as a mathematician, enjoyed stretching my mind to new limits and collaborating with peers to learn new insights. I, as a student, was humbled by the experience of being truly challenged....I hope to successfully implement strategies so that all students have equal access and support to grow as mathematicians by exploring problems with depth."

  • Started in 2010
  • Monthly meetings during academic year
  • Intensive summer workshops
  • Monthly sessions attended by 30-40 local teachers, each of whom directly interacts with up to 100 students per year, thus magnifying the impact of the program
  • The Math Teachers' Circle of Austin was recognized by the College of Natural Sciences with an Outreach Excellence Award in 2011.

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