For two decades UBC Math has been running school workshops at elementary and secondary schools in Metro Vancouver and around the province. The workshops aim to excite students about mathematics by exposing them to interesting and challenging problems and working directly with mathematics faculty and students on problem solving.
In 2010-2011 roughly 55 workshops ran over the two regular terms. The workshops were organized by Melania Alvarez and Paul Ottaway. As in previous years, the workshops in the fall term were primarily connected with the UBC course Math 414, Mathematical Demonstrations, taught by Andrew Adler in 2010. The workshops have been running since 1991, when Grade 12 school workshops (called Euclid Workshops) were given in three BC schools. Participation in the program greatly increased in the following years. The breadth of the workshops has expanded over time to include Grades 5-12, with volunteers from UBC faculty, graduates students, and undergraduate students.
The workshops have many positive results, including generating enthusiasm for problem solving among the students, providing excellent training for the UBC students working with the high school students, engaging students in mathematics as a cooperative and exciting activity, and discovering talent in the schools. UBC students often volunteer for workshops as they remember their past positive experience with them.
A set of problems of varying difficulty is handed out, with several problems chosen for focus. While students work on the problems, the workshop leader and accompanying assistants, often undergraduate students, interact the class observing work habits. The students get pointers/encouragement from the workshop leaders and assistants, helping them to move towards the solutions on their own. Finally the solutions are presented at a level appropriate for the accomplishments of the group. Students are welcome to work in groups and teachers are strongly encouraged to participate.
On occasion there have also been workshops for students at UBC. For example, in January 2011, students from JN Burnett Secondary School (Richmond) attended a calculus class and a games strategy session.
If you are looking to download the workshop problem sets, please click here.
Please contact us if you'd like to run a workshop at your school!