Saturday, January 16, 2016

MathPath: a residential math camp for middle schoolers

MathPath is a four week residential math camp for middle school students.  It's kind of like MathCamp, but is designed for younger students and therefore has way more supervision and structure.  For example, at MathPath most of the kids who fly in are met at the gate instead of baggage claim, there are certain streets that can only be crossed with a counselor, and everyone takes classes during the same time slots.

Some (but not all) of the participants are quite advanced mathematically (for example, already knowing much of the high school math curriculum), and so breakout courses at a wide variety of levels are offered.  Students are doing math for about 6 hours most days, which depending on the kid could be a dream come true or a nightmare.  I strongly believe that the decision to attend a program like this should be led by the student, and not the parent.

I was a counselor here in 2010.  Like other summer math camps, admission is largely based on performance on the qualifying test.  This is not like a regular test - it's not timed, the thought process and explanation (and not the answer) matter most, and students are not expected to get complete solutions to every problem.  If you're not sure if MathPath would be a good fit for you, try out the qualifying test - if you enjoy working on it and can make significant progress on most of the problems, than the program would likely be a good fit.

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