This book is based on selected topics that the authors taught in math circles for elementary school students at the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; Dominican University (Marin County, CA); and the University of Oregon (Eugene). It is intended for people who are already running a math circle or who are thinking about organizing one. It can be used by parents to help their motivated, math-loving kids or by elementary school teachers. We also hope that bright 4th- or 5th-graders will be able to read this book on their own.
The main features of this book are the logical sequence of the problems, the description of class reactions, and the hints given for when the kids get stuck. This book tries to keep the balance between two goals: inspire readers to invent their own original approaches while being detailed enough to work as a fallback in case the teacher needs to prepare a lesson on short notice. Kids will be introduced to combinatorics, Fibonacci numbers, Pascal's triangle, and the notion of area, among other things. The authors chose topics with deep mathematical context that are part of the continuously developing stream of mathematical thought. These topics are just as engaging and entertaining to children as typical ``recreational math'' problems, but they can be developed deeper and to more advanced levels.
In the interest of fostering a greater awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and everyday life, MSRI and the AMS are publishing books in the Mathematical Circles Library series as a service to young people, their parents and teachers, and the mathematics profession.
Numbers as geometric shapes Combinatorics Fibonacci numbers Pascal's triangle Area Selected warmup and challenging problems Handouts Bibliography Index.
Laura Givental, United Math Circles Foundation, Berkeley and Stanford, CA. Maria Nemirovskaya, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. Ilya Zakharevich, United Math Circles Foundation, Berkeley and Stanford, CA.