From Russia With Math

Anna Kuchment:

Every parent with an appreciation of science wants her child to love math. But not all of us are equipped to help them see the beauty in numbers.

Last year my daughter, who is going into 4rd grade, came home and announced for the first time that she “hates” math. So I went in search of an afterschool program that might inspire her to change her attitude.

I discovered “Math Circles,” informal math clubs for kids run by mathematicians who often hail from the former Soviet Bloc. The small groups spend their time working out problems, solving various riddles and puzzles, and going on math field trips to places like art museums.

Math circles originated in Eastern Europe more than a century ago but did not arrive in the United States until quite recently – one account dates their arrival to the launch of a math circle in Boston in 1994. Today, there are more than 200 groups across the country.