The Boise Math Circle meets monthly on Saturdays. Each meeting delivers an elementary topic with deep roots in mathematical theory. Many of these topics are not usually covered in school. The goal is for each participant to feel a spark and discover something new for themselves.

The typical meeting format begins with background and motivating questions, and then transitions into group work and guided discussions. Participants work on open-ended problems together in small groups, and then discuss their findings with the other groups.

Our activities differ from other extracurricular math programs in that it does not provide tutoring or support for school curriculum. The meetings are intended to be stress-free and encouraging. There are no grades, no competition, and no homework. Instead we encourage lots of collaboration and a loose classroom structure.

Who participates

We welcome Treasure Valley youth in grades 6–12 of all achievement backgrounds who have an independent interest in mathematics. We strongly encourage students from under-represented groups to join.

More about the math

We try to choose topics that are both accessible to middle and high school students, and interesting to research mathematicians. They may be chosen from any subfield of mathematics including: combinatorics, number theory, game theory, geometry, advanced algebra, set theory, and more. For specific examples of topics, you can always browse our past sessions.

Who we are

Joe Joe Champion is a member of the math education faculty at BSU. He is a math circle veteran, having cofounded the Islander Math Circles at his previous institution (Texas A&M—Corpus Christi).

Joe Samuel Coskey is a member of the pure math faculty at BSU. He has lots of experience participating in and facilitating mathematics discussions, and learned about math circles from like-minded friends. He’s been looking forward to the opportunity to provide one to the treasure valley ever since.

Jonny Comes is a math PhD and a member of the math faculty at the College of Idaho.

Gary Gary Thomas is a member of the math faculty at the College of Western Idaho. Gary is a long-time lover not only of math and science, but also languages, linguistics, and cultures.

What is a math circle?

A math circle is a group of interested individuals who meet to study mathematics for its own sake. Math circles differ widely and may take up any number of activities such as elementary problem solving or advanced reading. A math circle differs from a tutoring or enrichment program in that it is not supporting school curriculum. The BMC is the first Idaho program to join the 150+ math circles registered with the National Association of Math Circles. Also check out the Wikipedia article on math circles.