With the help of Memorial University’s Office of Public Engagement’s Quick Start Fund, Unpossible NL and Margarita Kondratieva, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Faculty of Education, brought Doug O’Roark, Executive Director of the Math Circles of Chicago, to St. John’s for two days of planning meetings. These meetings ultimately led to the development of Unpossible NL’s Math Circles program.
Modelled on the Math Circles of Chicago, a groundbreaking and award-winning mathematics exploration program combining math education and social justice, Unpossible NL’s Math Circles of St. John's will provide 5th to 8th graders opportunities to collaboratively explore challenging mathematics not commonly encountered in the school curriculum in order to increase their creative confidence, and to promote a lifelong love of mathematics. The program will present mathematics as a social, collaborative and creative endeavour, and create a supportive environment in which learning is led by students and encouraged by the Circle leader. Circles will be strictly non-competitive and foster an environment in which students feel safe to explore, experiment and share.
Working with schools and community partners like the Community Centre Alliance, we will target students who don't normally identify themselves as "math kids," and students from gender and socioeconomic groups typically underrepresented in mathematics.