Monday, March 17, 2014

New! Math circle at the Germantown Library

Good news!

We're opening a new math circle at the Germantown Library, starting this Thursday at 4pm. This circle will be held on Third Thursdays of each month.

Please join us in Germantown, and share this message with your friends. If you'd like to receive regular reminders about the Germantown math circle, just send us a friendly message to

Date: Thursday, March 20
Time: 4pm
Location: The Germantown Library, 31 Palatine Park Road in Germantown, NY (518.537.5800;
Room: The Hover Room. Please park in the rear parking area, which has direct access to the Hover Room.

The Bard Math Circle, organized by students and faculty at Bard College, is a mathematical enrichment program geared toward middle school and elementary students. Each month features puzzles and games, challenging problems, and a hands-on project that students can take home. The Bard Math Circle offers a gentle math environment where students can explore hands-on math without time pressure. The aim is to help students strengthen their critical thinking skills and make math more fun. The program is geared toward students in grades 5-8, but all are welcome. The plan is for the Bard Math Circle to meet on the Third Thursday of each month at the Germantown Library. 
Please join us!
Bard Math Circle

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi-Ku - Pi Day Haiku!

Bailey Middle School held a Pi-Ku contest, and math teacher Sheila Shaffer reports that they received over 100 entries in two categories:
  • Use of imagery
  • Really about pi/circles/etc

The directions were that it had to be about circles.

And now the winners!

Imagery winner- Indira Delacorte (6th grade)

      Plant stalk blows on sand, forming a circle.  Salt stings my eyes.
      Pi, I think, patterns of delicacy, never repeating.

Circle winner- Kaitlyn  McDowell (6th grade)

      Pi, so fine.
      I thought that it was edible, but I can't eat numbers
      So I ate the piece of paper that I wrote the numbers on.

Congratulations, and Happy Pi Day!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bard College Math Circle To Host the Purple Comet Math Meet for Middle School Students

Purple Comet at Bard!

This semester, the Bard Math Circle will be hosting the Purple Comet Math Meet for middle school students. Unlike other mathematics competitions at the middle school level, the Purple Comet Math Meet gives students the opportunity to work in teams of up to six. This teamwork gives them valuable experience working on mathematics in a collaborative environment, which is rarely experienced in school but is at the core of what professional mathematicians do regularly. The contest covers topics seldom included in the normal curriculum, including set theory and elementary number theory, and poses exceptionally challenging problems. On February 9, Bard undergraduate Math Circle organizers held the first preparation session, which allowed students to acclimate to a group-work environment. On March 2, there will be a session on strategies for working in groups efficiently and general problem-solving approaches. On March 16, the Math Circle will hold a mock contest. The final contest will take place during the first week of April. For more information please visit the Circle online at

About the Bard Math Circle

The Bard Math Circle, founded in 2007 by Bard math professors Japheth Wood and Lauren Rose, bridges the gap between academic and recreational mathematics. Current leadership includes Bard undergraduates Eliana Miller and Jake Weissman, and Bard MAT student Joy Sebesta, who work with faculty advisers to run monthly library programs in Tivoli and Kingston, as well as several contest programs. The Math Circle is a joint project of Bard’s Mathematics Program, Master of Arts in Teaching Program, and Trustee Leader Scholars program, a student leadership development initiative enabling undergraduates to lead hands-on community service projects. The Bard Math Circle has been instrumental in helping Bard become a center for mathematical exploration in the Hudson Valley.

This post was a press release from Bard College:

Thursday, February 20, 2014



Despite a surprise snowstorm that made travel difficult, 23 local high school and middle school students at participated in the 15th annual American Mathematics Contest 10 at Bard College. The contest was held on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. The students competed for local, regional and national student and school awards. The contest, which covers high school mathematics, is given in participating schools. Its purpose is to spur interest in mathematics and develop talent through the excitement of friendly competition at problem solving in a timed format. In 2013, over 220,000 students from 4,200 schools participated in the AMC 10 & AMC 12 contest. This is the first year that the AMC 10 contest has been offered at Bard College, as a Bard Math Circle program, and there are plans to also offer the AMC 12 contest next year.

The Bard Math Circle, founded in 2007 by Bard math professors Japheth Wood and Lauren Rose, as well as undergraduates in Bard's Trustee Leader Scholars program, offers library-based math enrichment programs for middle school and upper elementary school students, as well as the AMC and Purple Comet math competitions. Prof. Japheth Wood says the Bard Math Circle is about generating excitement for mathematics, inspiring students to excel, and intends to grow the pre-college math community in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Bard College, an undergraduate liberal arts college with a strong math department, has undergraduate math majors who are eager to share their passion for mathematics with younger students. This makes Bard the perfect epicenter for a growing math community for the Mid-Hudson Valley.

According to Prof. Steven Dunbar, who serves as Director of the American Mathematics Competitions, the AMC 12 (first offered in 1950), and the AMC 10 (first offered in 2000), are part of a series of contests sponsored each year by The Mathematical Association of America, through their program, the American Mathematics Competitions. The AMC offers the only math competition series in the country leading to the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO), the United States of American Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO) and the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP). From this group of students, the AMC sends the highly competitive USA Team to the prestigious annual International Mathematical Olympiad.

The AMC program includes:

  • American Mathematics Contest 8 (AMC8) for Grades 6- 8 in November
  • American Mathematics Contest 10 (AMC 10) for Grades 10 & below, 2 test dates in February
  • American Mathematics Contest 12 (AMC 12) for Grades 12 & below, 2 test dates in February
  • American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) for all who qualify, 2 dates in March-April
  • USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) for all who qualify, late-April
  • USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO) for all who qualify, late-April
  • Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), Qualify thru USAMO, in June
  • International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), top six from USAMO, MOSP, in July
The AMC is located at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and receives support from the Akamai Foundation, Academy of Applied Sciences, American Institute of Mathematics, American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, American Mathematical Society, American Statistical Association, Art of Problem Solving, Association for Symbolic Logic, Awesome Math, Casualty Actuarial Society, the D.E. Shaw Group, Idea Math, Jane Street Capital, Math for America, Math Training Center, Mu Alpha Theta, Andy and Laurie Okun, Pi Mu Epsilon, the Society for Industrial and Applied Math, and W.H. Freeman. The Contests are given across the U.S.A., Canada, and in many schools abroad.

Details concerning the 2014 AMC 10/12 contests for High School, as well as the rest of AMC’s programs are available on the AMC web site:

For further information contact the AMC -- email:, telephone: 800-527-3690. 
For further information about the AMC and other programs run by the Bard Math Circle at Bard College -- and

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How the AMC 10 B exam works

Here are some notes about how the AMC 10B Exam works. The Bard Math Circle is administering this math contest on Wednesday, February 19th. There's still a chance to register, at our AMC page.

Exam Details

The exam lasts for 75 minutes, and has 25 questions. Responses are multiple choice, with each correct response worth 6 points. Therefore, a perfect score is 150 points. For those of you who have guessing strategies, a blank answer is worth 1.5 points and a wrong answer is 0 points.

The AIME and Beyond

If you do a splendid job on the AMC 10 B, you'll be invited to the AIME, the American Invitational Mathematics Exam. Here, "splendid" means scoring at least 120 points or ranking in the top 2.5%, neither of which is easy to do. The AIME will take place in March.

Excellent performance on the AIME could lead to the USAJMO (USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad), which is a challenging proofs-based contest. The top scorers on the USAJMO will be invited to the MOSP (Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program) in June, from which the USA team is selected for the International Mathematical Olympiad (boys and girls) and the Girls Mathematical Olympiad (girls only). Not many people get there. Not many at all.

Contest Rules and Regulations

  • You'll need to use a #2 pencil, and we'll have a supply at hand, but feel free to bring your own. 
  • Be ready to bubble in your correct name, as no editing will be done by the AMC people. You'll also bubble in your address. 
  • As you might guess, CALCULATORS ARE NOT PERMITTED. In fact, no electronics of any kind will be allowed, maybe not even digital watches. 
  • Students, you will be seated as far apart as space allows. You're also not allowed to speak or ask questions during the contest; you must do your own work. No wandering eyes, please. The exam proctor may issue warnings or even confiscate your exam if cheating is suspected. Let's not see that happen at the Bard Math Circle, please!
  • If you finish early, you can leave the room. If you need to use the rest room, please raise your hand and you'll be escorted there.
  • After the contest, you make keep your contest booklet and take it home with you. You may discuss the answers with others who take it at Bard once the contest is over, and you may discuss it with anyone in the world starting the day after the exam.

Your preparation for this year's contest should be finishing about now. If you enjoy the challenge of the AMC, why not start preparing for next year's contest after this contest?!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 AMC 10B at Bard College on Wed, Feb 19th, 4pm

Dear Math Problem Solvers,

The Bard Math Circle invites you to take the AMC 10B math contest at Bard College on Wednesday, February 19th starting at 4pm. The contest will be followed by pizza and an engaging math talk. There is no fee for your participation.

Register Now:

Registration is open to all students in grade 10 or below who will be 17.5 years or younger on February 19th. Space is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Date: Wednesday February 19, 2014
Time: 4:00pm-6:30pm
Location: Bard College Science Building (RKC)

The AMC 10B is a 25 question, 75 minute multiple choice exam, and we'll start promptly at 4:00pm. The contest will be followed by pizza, and an engaging math talk by Bard College math professor and chair of the math department, Greg Landweber, speaking on Quaternions, Octonions, and Clifford Algebras.

Please extend this invitation to your friends! Forward this email, print and post the attached flyer, and spread the word.

The AMC 10B is a challenging exam. If you're not sure if you should take it, try out previous exams on the Art of Problem Solving website: . You can also use this as a resource to prepare.

     Japheth Wood, PhD

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Purple Comet

This coming semester, in addition to hosting the AMC 10, we are going to host the Purple Comet Math Meet for middle school students in April. This competition is formatted a little differently from the AMC in that students form into teams of up to six. We plan on having several prep sessions to help students get used to working on problems with their group, as well as to work on general problem-solving skills. The exact competition date is flexible, and will be determined based on team availability.
We will hold three preparatory sessions at Bard on the following dates. These sessions will help acquaint students with Purple Comet style questions, general problem solving techniques, and will get them used to solving problems in a group. Attendance at these sessions is strongly recommended.
Sunday, February 9th at 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 2nd at 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 16th at 1:00 PM
The February session will also serve to introduce students to their teams and to fix a date for the actual meet.
To register for the Purple Comet, please fill out the form below. We will register the teams participating with the Purple Comet, please do not additionally sign up on their site. We have a registration form for individuals, who we will arrange into teams. Alternatively, if you would like to form a team with your peers, you can use the group registration form to sign up together. Teams that have all members from the same school qualify for a different category in the contest. Teams may only have up to six members. Please also fill out the waiver form below, or we will not be able to host you at Bard.
Team Registration:
Waiver and Emergency Contact Info (Every student participating must fill this out individually):

For more information about Purple Comet visit: