Riverbend Math Circles at Notre Dame

COVID-19 Update: Math Circles will begin online this semester and will remain online until the 7-day average count of new cases in St. Joseph County drops below 50 cases per day or a vaccine for children is available.

Math Circles are for students with long attention spans who enjoy engaging in mathematical conversation. Students will learn to collaborate with others while developing and defending their mathematical ideas. Our pedagogy is based on the approach used in the Global Math Circle.

Math Circles are programs for students who love math and want a challenge. Students should have long attention spans and should be eager to have a discussion about mathematical ideas with like-minded peers.

Fall 2021

This semester, faculty and studebts from Notre Dame are working with Riverbend Community Math Center to offer Math Circles for five different age ranges, plus an online research group for middle and high school students. All Math Circles will start the last week of September.

Online Registration Form

To register for a Math Circle, please complete the Online Registration Form.

Birman Math Circle

Typical Ages: 4--5 years old
Time: Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. on the dates listed below

Named for Joan Birman (1927–)

Galois Math Circle

Typical Ages: 1st -- 2nd grade students
Time: Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. on the dates listed below

Named for Evariste Galois (1811–1832)

Germain Math Circle

Typical Ages: 3rd -- 5th grade students
Time: Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. on the dates listed below

Named for Sophie Germain (1776–1831)

Wiles Math Circle

Typical Ages: 6th -- 8th grade students
Time: Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. on the dates listed below

Named for Andrew Wiles (1953–)

Euler Math Circle

Typical Ages: high school students
Time: To Be Determined

Named for Leonhard Euler (1707–1783)

Research Group

The research group always meets online, and is designed for older students who want to take a deep dive into a single topic, learn the LaTeX language in which most math papers and books are published, and improve their mathematical writing skills. Exceptional amounts of focus, determination, and patience are required, and we assume that participants are familiar with the content of Algebra 1.

Typical Ages: middle and high school students
Time: Wednesdays from 8 to 9:30 p.m.

Content From Past Math Circles

Exploding and Collapsing Boxes
We have heard of base ten, base two, and base sixteen, but is it possible to make sense of base three halves?

Three-sided Cylindrical Dice
How can we construct a fair three-sided cylindrical die?

For example, a "short" cylinder will almost always land on one of the ends and rarely on the side. A tall cylinder will almost always land on its side and rarely on an end. How should we construct the die so that if we label the ends with "1" and "2" and the side with "3" each number will have an equal chance of coming up?

Emptying the Atlantic Ocean with a Thimble
How many thimbles of water would it take to empty the Atlantic Ocean?

Extension of James Tanton's Intersection Math Problem
We extended James Tanton's Intersection Math Problem counting the intersections of a bipartite graph to a tripartite graph.

Riverbend Community Math Center
(574) 339-9111
This work placed into the public domain by the Riverbend Community Math Center.