A high school math circle solves real world math problems, thanks to the interest of a North Dakota state University math professor.
A Monday night math circle was started for high school students by Professor Trevor McGuire, who is interested in guiding students and getting kids fired up about playing with numbers.
“We place a lot of emphasis in modern society in getting struggling students up to speed,” McGuire said. “But we have a lot of gifted students, and we’re losing them because they’re not interested enough.
“My goal is to get the students who are asking ‘Why?’ and their teachers can’t give them an answer, and put them in the situation where they can ask ‘Why?’” McGuire said.
Some of the problems the 17 Fargo area students have tackled involve random Fibonacci sequences, cellular automata, Ramsey theory of random data, and ouroboros (diagrams of a snake swallowing its tail). Fitting these concepts into knot theory is also a focus.
McGuire wants to stimulate young minds, especially those who enjoy advanced mathematics. “They’re warming up to it. They have never been exposed to … inquiry-driven learning, where they’re not told the whole story, where they have to figure it out on their own,” McGuire said.