Opportunities for K-12 Students

Ithaca High School Math Seminar (Grades 10-12)

The Math Seminar at Ithaca High School provides advanced mathematics instruction for students who have exhausted (or nearly exhausted) the high-school mathematics curriculum. The purpose of the seminar, which meets at the high school during school hours, is to introduce students to topics that they would typically not see until their junior or senior year in college and to encourage more high school students to major in mathematics when they go to college.

Over the course of the academic year, the seminar consists of three graduate students introducing topics related to their research interests and then guiding students in the development of their own end-of-term research projects. While by no means new research, the projects enable the high-school students to explore topics of interest. 

The Math Seminar was developed and conducted for several years with NSF funding. The Cornell University graduate student instructors of the Math Seminar course are funded by the Cornell Department of Mathematics and the Center for Applied Mathematics.  This is a joint outreach activity with Ithaca High School, and as such, a portion of the financial support for Math Seminar is provided by the Ithaca City School District.

See past coverage in the Cornell Chronicle - 2015, 2016.


Academic Year 2021-2022 Math Seminar Updates
  • Math seminar sessions for Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 are being planned to take place at Ithaca High School
  • Students outside of Ithaca High School are welcome to join in sessions that will take place virtually on weekends (logistics TBD).  To express interest, complete this survey (forthcoming).
  • At minimum, students who enroll in Math Seminar must have previously taken calculus or are taking it concurrently

For more information or questions about the Ithaca High School Math Seminar, please contact Mary Ann Huntley.

Math Explorer's Club (Grades 8-12)

The Math Explorer's Club (MEC) consists of a sequence of lessons, led by graduate students and facilitated by undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers, that introduce new mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies to grades 8-12 students.  Lessons are designed to be interactive, providing opportunities for participants to ask and refine questions, develop ideas and definitions, and solve problems cooperatively.  Students are encouraged to share what they have learned with the general public by creating a presentation or poster based on their experience.

The Department of Mathematics generally offers one or two Math Explorer's Club modules on the Cornell campus each semester.  Students can expect interactive lessons taught in a cooperative and supportive learning environment = lots of fun!

The next meetings of Math Explorer’s Club, led by Nikhil Sahoo, have been postponed to Fall 2022. Nikhil is a first-year PhD student at Cornell who enjoys any math that he can do by drawing pictures. Shaped by his past as a math circler and city college graduate, he works to make mathematics inclusive and compelling to learners of all levels. For more information, please see the flyer (note that its dates are no longer accurate).

Previous Offerings

Background:  The content that is taught in Math Explorer's Club is based on a collection of modules that was developed by graduate students through support from the National Science Foundation.

For more information about Math Explorer's Club, contact J.D. Quigley.

Math Clubs & Circles (Grades K-12)

The Department of Mathematics at Cornell University connects K-12 students with several local math clubs and circles.  Some math clubs and circles have been in existence since the 1990s, and others are just being formed.  Underlying each club are the following two goals:  to stimulate students' interest in mathematics, and to develop students' problem-solving skills.  At some sites, students engage in recreational mathematics; at others, students are coached for math competitions, such as AMC8, Math Counts, and MOEMS (Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle Schools).

The Girls' Math Circle at Cornell offers girls a fun, intimate, and socially comfortable environment to explore mathematics, and building math competence with other like-minded girls.  Preparing for math competitions is one focus of the weekly meetings.  

For information about Little Circle for grades K-5, contact Inna Zakharevich. (Exact age range will vary based on interest and instructor availability.)

For Girls' Math Circles for grades 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12, contact Eglantina Lucio-Belbase. Topics will be assigned to a circle based on each group's makeup in a given year.

If you are a teacher, school administrator, parent interested in starting a club, or student interested in joining a club, contact Ravi Ramakrishna. While the Cornell Math Department provides information about current math clubs, these clubs are administered by their respective Ithaca schools.

Math Tutoring

TBD organizes mathematics tutoring at local schools, community centers, and other sites around the region. Volunteer (unpaid) tutors include undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty.  Please contact X (TBD) if:  (a) you are a Cornell University student or faculty member and would like to be a volunteer tutor, or (b) you are a teacher and would like to discuss having one or more mathematics tutors to assist during classroom instruction or during after school hours.

Eleanor Willard maintains a list of Cornell University students who are interested in serving as private math tutors.  Please understand that neither Cornell University nor the Department of Mathematics makes any representations as to the suitability of these potential private tutors.  Anyone wishing to engage these students as tutors, particularly for underaged tutees, is solely responsible for all screening of candidates and hiring decisions, and should not interpret our linking you with potential tutors as an endorsement of the tutors.  To request a tutor, please complete the information requested here.

GAIM: Girls' Adventures in Math (Grades 3-8 girls)

Girls' Adventures in Math (GAIM) is a comic-based math competition that each year features four women who have made substantial contributions to the fields of mathematics and science.  The event begins with a 60-minute, 16-question Round 1 and a 20 minute research question Round 2, followed by strategy games.  Teams of four students from the same school compete in one of two divisions: Upper Elementary, for grades 3-5, and Middle, for grades 6-8.

The next offering of this program has not been scheduled.

See past coverage in the Cornell Chronicle

Mathematics Competitions (Grades 7-12)

The Cornell Mathematics Department supports local students in a variety of math competitions. Faculty and graduate students are involved in coaching the students in preparing for the competitions. Contact Xiaodong Cao for more information.

Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival is an opportunity for students to participate in mathematical games and activities in a collaborative setting.  During sessions, small group work is facilitated by Cornell graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty.

More information about Julia Robinson Math Festivals can be found at jrmf.org.

The next offering of this program has not been scheduled.

Discrete Mathematical Explorations (DIMEX)

As part of her NSF-funded CAREER grant, Dr. Karola Mészáros is working with grades 9-12 students on discrete mathematical structures, which are at the heart of many modern disciplines, including computer science. 

Funding provided by NSF Grant #1847284

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