Archive for the ‘Middle School Math Circle’ Category


Summer Math Programs

February 7, 2014

Greetings Everyone,

I want to spread information about several great summer math programs in the United States. Some of these have been around for a long time, and have helped put many great mathematicians, scientists, and engineers on a path towards their careers.

These are the camps that I most highly recommend. I’ve separated the camps into two categories – those that focus on advanced topics or exposure to topics that high school students don’t usually see – such as abstract algebra, number theory, topology, etc. These camps are usually not oriented towards preparing you for competitions, but towards preparing you to become a mathematician. The second category of camps is those structured around competition mathematics and topics that you will find on competitions. All of these camps are open to current seniors as well as to international students.

The price tags of these camps may seem high, especially considering it does not include the cost of transportation to and from the camp – but many of them have very good need-based financial aid. There will be information on how to apply for it on their webpage.

Advanced Topics Camps:

  • PROMYS – Boston University (Boston, MA) – June 29-Aug 9 (6 weeks) – $3300  – deadline: March 15 (early), April 15 (regular) –
  • Ross – Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) – June 16-July 25 (6 weeks) – $2700 – deadline: rolling admissions process will begin on March 1, with a final application deadline of May 1. Spaces do fill up quickly, so it’s best to apply early. –
  • Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics – Hampshire College (Amhurst, MA) – June 29-Aug 9 (6 weeks) – $2890 – deadline: “There is no official deadline for applications, and decisions are made on a rolling basis. We are likely to have run out of spaces by early June. To be safe, apply early.” –
  • Honors Summer Math Camp – Texas State University (San Marcos, TX) – June 22-Aug 2 (6 weeks) – $3100 – deadline: “We start taking applications in January each year, and we stop taking applications after April 15th. Decisions are made on a quasi-rolling basis. Applications will no longer be accepted once all spots are filled. We encourage students currently in the 9th or 10th grades to apply to our first-year program. If you have not attended the HSMC before, you must apply for the first-year program.” –

Competition and Problem Solving Oriented Camps:

  • AwesomeMath (run by Titu Andreescu) – Dallas, TX; Cornell, NY; Berkeley, CA – June 8-25; June 29-July 18; July 22-Aug 10, respectively (2.5 weeks) – $3875 (Dallas); $4275 (Cornell/Berkeley)  minus 10% if early – deadlines: Feb. 7 (early), April 11 (regular), May 16 (late) –
  • IdeaMath (run by Zuming Feng) – Daniel Webster College (Nashua, NH) – July 4-19 (2 weeks) – $2885 (early), $3185 (regular) – deadline: April 1 (early), May 8 (regular) –
  • Mathlinks (run by AoPS) – San Diego State University (San Diego, CA) – July 14-Aug. 2 (3 weeks) – $3400 (early), $3600 (regular) – deadline: “While we have no admission test, we do have a 100-student cap, which is going to be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.” –
  • MathZoom (run by Dr. Kevin Wang and Dr. Harold Reiter) – UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA); Boston College (Boston, MA) – June 22-July 12; July 20-Aug 9, respectively (2 weeks) – $3945 (early), $4345 (regular), $4545 (late) – deadline: Feb. 28 (early), April 25 (regular), May 23 (late) –

For Middle School Students:

The premier camp for Middle School students in called MathPath. This year it will be held at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA from June 29 to July 27. The cost for the 4 week program is $4500.
Here is information from their website about the deadline:
There is no fixed closing date for applications. Applications completely close when MathPath fills up, that is, when we have 100 registrations. Applications partly close when there are so many completed applications in the queue for evaluation that we expect to fill camp with them. Applications received after that point obviously do not receive full consideration, but there is a chance for admission if they are especially strong, or the queue turns out not to be so strong, or previously admitted students withdraw.
Partial and complete closure happen earlier each year. Our initial prediction for 2014 was that we would partly close around April 1. However, since mid January applications have been coming in much faster than ever before and now we may partly close in the second half of February and fully close sometime in March.
For more information, visit the website for the MathPath camp here:

Then of course, there’s RSI and MOSP, which have more restrictive admission requirements! I’ll also give a plug for the Hammond Summer Programs (for which I will be teaching a camp for rising 6th-9th graders this June), and the GSSM Go-Sci-Tech camps, which are science oriented camps in Hartsville, SC.

 If you know of any other good summer math programs, let me know.

Best Regards,

Marcus Neal


Hammond Middle School Math Contest, April 13th, 2013

April 7, 2013
Hammond School will be the host to a Middle School Math Contest on Saturday, April 13th, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. This contest will be a joint collaboration between Hammond School and the Columbia Middle School Math Circle. The organizers of the contest will be Patrick Rybarczyk, a mathematics teacher at A.C. Flora High School and head of the South Carolina All-State Math Team, and Marcus Neal, an upper school mathematics teacher at Hammond School.
Each school may bring as many students as want to participate, with the students divided into teams of 3 or 4. Each team from a school should be given a unique name which begins with the name of their school – for example, “The Hammond Radicals”. The cost of participation in the contest will be $8 per student. Payments should be made out to Hammond School.
The contest will be similar in format to the Mathcounts Competitions in that there will be two individual rounds and a team round.
Details of Rounds and Scoring:
  • The first individual round will consist of 25 multiple choice questions with 5 answer choices for each question. The time limit for this round will be 50 minutes. Each question answered correctly in this round will earn 5 points, each incorrect answer will earn 0 points, and each question left blank will earn 1 point – this is to make the test statistically guessing neutral.
  • The second individual round will consist of 15 free response questions. The time limit for this round will be 45 minutes. Each correct answer in this round will earn 5 points and each incorrect or blank answer will earn 0 points.
  • An individual’s score will be the sum of their points from these two rounds.
  • Each team from each school will participate in the Team Round. This round will consist of 10 free response questions and will have a time limit of 20 minutes. Each correct answer on the team round will earn 10 points and each incorrect or blank answer will earn 0 points towards the team’s score.
  • A school’s score will be the sum of their four highest individual scores (regardless of which team) plus the score of whichever of their teams scores highest on the Team Round.
  • Awards will be given to the top three individuals, the top three schools, and the highest scoring student from each grade who did not already receive a top three individual award.
  • Ties will be broken for the individual awards by looking at the questions in the reverse order on the free response round until only one student has the correct answer. Ties for the team round will be broken by the looking at the questions in the reverse order on the team round.
  • Students from schools with fewer than 3 participants may register as individuals. They will be eligible for individual awards, and will be placed into teams with other individuals to participate in the Team Round. They are not eligible, however, for team awards.
Schedule of the Day:
Registration (Barks Hall Conference Room) – 9:00am – 9:30am
Multiple Choice Round – 9:30am – 10:20am
Free Response Round – 10:25am – 11:10am
Break – 11:10am – 11:20am
Team Round – 11:20am – 11:50am
Lunch – 11:50am – 12:30pm
Math Activity – 12:30pm – 1:15pm
Awards Ceremony (Walker Chapel) – 1:30pm-2:00pm
I hope that you will register your students to participate in this year’s contest. I believe that math contests are a great way to inspire students to study mathematics and promote higher level critical thinking. I also hope that this contest will serve as a good warm-up for students participating in the other regional and national math competitions. Attached are the problems and answer keys for last year’s contest.
To register for this year’s contest, go to the following website and fill in the indicated information:
The deadline to register for the contest will be at 10pm on Thursday, April 11th, 2013. You may return to the website to edit your information at any time. Payment for the contest should be made out to Hammond School.
Payment can be made during the registration period on the morning of the contest, or may be mailed to:
 Hammond School
 c/o Marcus Neal
 854 Galway Lane
 Columbia, SC 29209
I look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it,
Marcus Neal (Contest Coordinator)
Teacher of Mathematics
Hammond Upper School

Upcoming Math Circles

March 2, 2013

The next Middle School Math Circles will be on Saturday, March 9th and Saturday, April 6th from 9am to 12 noon. At the March 9th Math Circle we will be giving the Math Talent Quest Competition. This is a contest to select 4 middle school students to participate in the Hua Luo Geng Golden Cup Youth Invitational Competition in China in the summer of 2013. The usual cost of $25 will be waived for students taking the contest that day.

Additionally, the Hammond Math Contest will take place on Saturday, April 13th. The contest will allow up to 12 students from the same middle school to participate, but students can also participate as individuals if there are fewer than 4 students from your school. Any middle school student from South Carolina is welcome to participate. The cost will be $8 per student to cover the cost of lunch and awards. Send me an e-mail at for more details.


Middle School Math Circle on Saturday, June 23rd

June 20, 2012

Greetings Everyone,

The next Middle School Math Circle meeting will be on this Saturday, June 23rd at Hammond School from 9am to 12 noon. The cost for the Math Circle is $25 for each student. Rising 9th graders are still encouraged to participate in the Middle School Math Circle until the High School Math Circle begins again in September. For those students that have been before, please bring with you your book, Competition Math for Middle School, as well as your problems from the last Math Circle meeting. Please note that due to a conflict we’ve had to cancel the meeting that we were planning for Saturday, August 4th. However, the subsequent meeting scheduled for Saturday, Austust 25th is still planned.

Normally it’s not necessary for people to pre-register for Math Circle meetings, but for the summer meetings it would be nice to know how many students to expect. So if you receive this e-mail and you intend to come to the meeting this Saturday, please shoot me a reply to let me know. Feel free to spread the word about the Math Circle to anyone that you think may be interested.

If you’re looking for some good math problems to ponder, head over to the Art of Problem Solving’s online Forum: and look at the problems in their Middle School Forums. There are some very good problems and discussions there!

You can also start solving problems on your own from their problem database called Alcumus:

You can set focus topics for the questions you want to get (Prealgebra, Algebra, Geometry, Number Theory, or Counting and Probability), or you can leave them all active to get a full mix of topics. When you come across a question you don’t know how to solve, there are also great videos that you can watch discussing ideas from these topics :

Best Regards,

Marcus Neal


Math Prize for Girls 2012

June 7, 2012

The application deadline for the 2012 Math Prize for Girls is coming up soon: June 15. More details can be found at The contest is Sept 22 at MIT. Some financial support is available for travel for USAMO and USAJMO qualifiers. All AMC 10/12 participants in Feb 2012 are welcome to apply!

Also, the Middle School Math Circle will meet on this coming Saturday, June 9th at Hammond School from 9am to 12 noon. I look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it.



Summer Dates for the Middle School Math Circle

May 11, 2012

Greetings Everyone,

The Middle School Math Circle will meet on Saturday, May 12th from 9am to 12noon. In addition, here are the dates on which the Middle School Math Circle will meet during the summer:

Saturday, June 9th
Saturday, June 23rd
Saturday, August 4th
Saturday, Austust 25th

Rising 9th grade students are welcome to attend the Middle School Math Circle attend until the High School Math Circle starts up again in September. Please feel free to spread the word about the Math Circle to anyone you think may be interested in attending. Also, thank you for your support of the Middle School Math Circle over the first two years of its existence. I think the students who have been attending have shown great improvement, and several have now moved on to form a strong part of our All-State Math Team.

I encourage all students to register an account at The Art of Problem Solving website – and to work on problems from the forums there as well as problems from Alcumus. It’s a great way to get exposure to new mathematical and to improve your math ability over the summer. They also offer online classes there that are very good. For further information, feel free to contact me.

Marcus Neal


Math Talent Quest Contest

March 23, 2012

I will be sponsoring any students from SC that would like to participate in a new math contest called the Math Talent Quest. The contest is open to students currently in grades 1-8.  It will be held on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 at Hammond School at 4:00pm. Please contact me for more information if you, or someone you know, is interested in participating.

The website with information and some sample problems is here: