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Suggestions for Starting a Math Club

 students working girls_more_mathgirls_math  

1.  Contact the school's principal

    a.  Discuss your ideas
    b.  Find a place to meet and decide how often to meet (try to make your math club into a regular elective class that meets during the school day!)
    c.  Discuss possible funding sources so you can purchase snacks, math materials, and pay registration fees for math contests
    d.  Discuss what types of lessons/activities/contests your club would include

2.  Contact local businesses, foundations, and school parents

    a.  As a possible source of funding and volunteers
    b.  To provide snacks for practices

3.  Contact math teachers for support and assistance

4.  Plan a date and time for your first meeting

     Check for times of other school activities and clubs

5.  Check for availability of meeting place

6.  Determine if you will be participating in math competitions

    a.  Advantages:
          i.  This will help you determine what topics to learn
          ii.  This will supply you with materials to use during practice and as take-home work
    b.  Suggested math competitions:
          i.  Mathcounts (middle school) 
          ii.  AMC (middle and high school)
          iii.  Math League (upper elementary through high school)
          iv.  Mandelbrot (high school - some middle school students compete)
          v.  Rocket City Math League (middle and high school)
          vi.  ARML (high school)
          vii.  Math Olympiads (upper elementary and middle school)
          viii. USA Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS)

          ix.  Math Competitions In Texas

  1. Mathworks at Texas State University has a state-wide competition called the Mathworks Math Contest for middle school students.
  2. Rice Math Tournament (high school)
  3. Texas A&M University High School Mathematics Tournament
  4. University of Houston High School Math Contest
  5. Texas Competitive Math (upper elementary through high school)

7.  Have a presentation or display ready for school registration or schedule pick-up

    a.  This is a great way to inform and raise interest of parents
    b.  Have a sign-up for both students and parent volunteers (see samples below)
          i.  For providing assistance
          ii.  For providing snacks at each meeting
    c.  Have a handout (see samples below)
          i.  Describe your program
          ii.  List practice times
          iii.  List competition dates (approximately if not known)
          iv.  List basic topics to be covered
          v.  Give sample problems
          vi.  Tell parents how they can participate
          vii.  Request sponsorship from local businesses and foundations

8.  Make and display posters around the school (see sample below), the content could include:

    a.  Some mathematics problems 
    b.  Time and location of the first practice
    c.  A note if refreshments will be provided at club meetings

9.  Remind students on your school's announcements, and through an e-mail list, and social media (e.g., Facebook group)

10.  Prepare a lesson or pre-test (if desired) for your first practice

11. Contact your local college or university.

      Many professors, undergraduate students, and graduate students are willing to be a part of math clubs to help share the joy of doing mathematics. You could invite them to be guest speakers or volunteers

Sign-up (DOC, 73 KB)
Sign-up (PDF, 40 KB)
flyer (DOC, 66 KB)
flyer (PDF, 72 KB)
Poster (PDF, 67 KB)

You might also be interested in the Mathworks summer math camps! We hold three different programs in the summer:

Why start a math club?

There are many possible reasons to start a math club! A math club should be a community for all students. Every student should have the opportunity to develop their critical and creative thinking skills, regardless of their prior mathematics experiences and background. Reasons to start a math club could include:

  • Create an environment for students to have fun while learning math
  • Learn about math topics not usually covered in school math classes
  • Make new friends with similar interests
  • Learn about degrees and careers that use math
  • Have opportunities to interact with professors, industry professionals, and many other individuals in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
  • Create a sense of pride and ownership over starting and sustaining a club

The simple three-step process for starting a math club

  1. Recruit members and find a math club coach/sponsor
  2. Have a collection of interesting math questions to work on
  3. Schedule regular math club meetings, and enjoy doing math together!

Recruitment of math club members:

  • Ask your friends, and your friends' friends
  • Advertise throughout your school: ask for permission to post posters throughout your school
  • Consider creating a webpage and/or other online presence (such as a facebook group) for your new math club. This will enable you to share information in a timely manner about upcoming events
  • Consider holding a kick-off event to generate initial awareness and excitement about your new club
  • Be pro-active in continual marketing and advertising of your math club
  • Consider maintaining an e-mail list, so you can share news with your members, sponsors, and funders/supporters

Find a math club sponsor/coach:

  • Ask your current math teacher or former math teachers or any other teacher who is interested in being a math club coach
  • Ask your friends' math teachers
  • Consider co-coaches, where two or three teachers could collectively be sponsors for the math club
  • Be considerate of your math club coach's availability after school and on the weekends

Create an interesting collection of math problems:

  • Elementary school level
  • Middle school level
  • High school level

Schedule regular meetings, and enjoy exploring math together:

  • Find an appropriate room/classroom where your club can meet periodically. Your math club sponsor/coach should be able to help you with scheduling a room at your school. Consider a room that has whiteboards/chalkboards, so you and your club members can easily share ideas with everyone while you are having fun doing math!
  • Consider weekly or bi-weekly (once every two weeks) meetings
  • You could have a running theme for the entire semester or school year, or have a different topic each meeting
  • Balance individual work with teamwork, where members have the chance to work on questions individually as well as with others
  • Consider having members give a short talk on a math topic of their choosing
  • Consider inviting guest speakers, such as math professors, industry professionals, undergraduate students, or graduate students. Some one who is excited about math and wants to share that excitement with others