Math Circle influences students to challenge themselves

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, Professor Yunus Zeytuncu and his assistant Josh Postel hosted the Math Circle at the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters.

The Math Circle is designed for high school students who have an interest in math and want to deepen their skills in problem solving.

Zeytuncu says, “For high school students interested in mathematics, it’s hard for them to find a nurture group for them at their local schools.  Therefore, it’s our goal to provide that nurture place for these teenagers.”

The math professor also says the Math Circle will also help the high school students in their classes as well. He said, “The games they play, they will become familiar with problem solving, looking for patterns and work on critical thinking.”

For the first ten to 15 minutes, students are involved in a game to break the ice by working together as a group. Afterwards, they were given a packet of math problems that had to with Algebra, Logic and Geometry.

Josh Postel is a math major at the University of Michigan – Dearborn and says he always liked math. “I had a really great time in high school during my Calculus class. I like math because I was never able to memorize things very well, however if I can understand how it works I will be able to work through it and memorize.”

Postel believes that the Math Circle will help out high school students regardless if they like math or not. He said, “Even if they do not go into math, working together with other students, collaborating and having exposure to a university is great. It encourages them to go farther.”

One of the high school students was Mokun Li from Bishop Foley Catholic High School in Madison Heights. Pertaining to the Math Circle, she said, “I love thinking and solving problems.”

Another student was Yongwei Che from Northwood High school. Che is 12 years old and takes an advanced math class at Northwood High, while attending his other primary classes at a junior high school.

“I like solving problems, with other classes you need to memorize materials; with math, you need to be creative and think about how to do it,” he says.

The Math Circle meets every Wednesday at 4:15 pm until 6 pm. Topics vary weekly.

Email Josh Postel at jpostel@umich.edu or Professor Zeytuncu at zeytuncu@umich.edu for more information on the Math Circle.