Summer Program: Strategic Math

In Strategic Math, you will learn clever techniques to do seemingly hard computations with ease and joy. Become skillful with numbers for success in school and beyond! In this course, children learn a series of clever techniques for simplifying computational problems and avoiding unpleasant calculations. These techniques build on each other throughout the course, forming a well connected, coherent curriculum.

As an example, consider the following question: 4003 - 1998 = ?

This would have most kids (and adults) grabbing for their calculators, or rolling their eyes at the long chain of “borrowing” that is required to do it manually. A simple solution is to add 2 to both numbers and change the question to something much more manageable: 4005 - 2000 = ? 

Why is it important to learn mental math?

Being able to calculate in your head is a practical life skill. The benefit extends to written computations as well, making them easier and quicker. Proficiency in mental math contributes to increased skill in estimation, which is essential for checking the reasonableness of an answer obtained using a calculator.

Children in Strategic Math develop computational thinking and number sense, which are the bases for many fields, including AI, data science, and machine learning. 

Through in-class activities, students will be able to recognize and apply a variety of strategies for flexible computation. Children will also come to understand why and how these strategies work, gaining a better understanding of place value, mathematical operations, and basic number properties.

Program Details

Who is Strategic Math for?  This program is designed for students entering Grades 6 - 12 in September, including both those who have attended Math Circles in the past and those who have not.
Who teaches Strategic Math? Dr. Natasa Sirotic, co-founder of Math Potentials.
What is the program curriculum? Extending from whole numbers to decimals to fractions, the course presents a coherent curriculum as new strategies build on past ones. It is not a series of isolated/standalone strategies.

"Mental Math in Junior High" by R. Reys is used for both Part 1 & 2 of this course.

What are the course levels?  Strategic Math is offered in two parts; Part 1 in the first half of summer and Part 2 in the second half, ending before the start of the school year.

In Strategic Math - Part 2, students build upon the techniques from Part 1 with new computational strategies to achieve complete numerical fluency. Part 2 is open only to students who have completed Part 1.

Strategic Math Part 1

Part 1 (Gr 6-12): Tuesdays and Fridays, from 11am to 12:15pm

Class #1 Class #2 Class #3 Class #4 Class #5
July 5 July 8 July 12 July 15 July 19
Class #6 Class #7 Class #8 Class #9 Class #10
July 22 July 26 July 29 Aug 2 Aug 5

Location: Zoom

Strategic Math Part 2

Part 2 (Gr 6-12): Tuesdays and Fridays, from 11am to 12:15pm. Class 19 & 20 are on Saturdays 9am - 10:15am.

Class #11 Class #12 Class #13 Class #14 Class #15
Aug 9 Aug 12 Aug 16 Aug 19 Aug 23
Class #16 Class #17 Class #18 Class #19 Class #20
Aug 26 Aug 30 Sept 2 Sept 10 Sept 17

Location: Zoom

Prerequisite: Strategic Math Part 1