We have included some activities below to try out during your next math club meeting. If you have activities to add, please email us
and let us know so we can share them with other sponsors.
Field Trips to Mathematical Events
"The Mount Rainier High School chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, in Des Moines, WA, had the unique privilege of
sponsoring a field trip to the University of Washington’s Math Day, an event replete with seminars in applied
science, math, engineering and technology, for our chapter members and other students with a desire to explore
careers in math or with a genuine interest to further their understanding in these fields.
As an academic community, one of our mission goals is to not only encourage excellence in mathematics, through
the study of advanced mathematics in club meeting along with regional and national competitions, but to also open
up opportunities to students who may never have considered the wonders of learning math due to inherent
difficulties in this subject. We aspire to help these students through tutoring and alternative experiences
outside of the classroom, for which the UW Math Day trip is but one example of accomplishing this goal.
We had several students from our school attend this event. In a seminar format, several UW lecturers exposed
our kids to a variety of topics in applied math, ranging from the application of the “Gale-Shapley algorithm
which determines a matching between kidneys and kidney recipients in such a way that no better matching exists”
to the relationship of the Fibonacci sequence to the Chinese game of Nim. It might also be said that our
students gained considerable insight into college lecture styles and the common discourse that occurs in this
- Richard Roths, Mt. Rainier High School Sponsor
Host a Math Day
"The chapter was started in December 2012. We have over 50 members...[t]hey enjoy tutoring as well as
organizing the three math days we have held this year. We have
been at the neighboring elementary school assisting them in their PTA run math nights as well as hosting our
own math day themed "Math Around the World". Some of our displays were quite impressive, some needed work, but
overall the elementary schools got a kick out of the festivities and we were able to make ourselves known to the
community. We will be hosting our final math day next week themed Ancient Civilizations Math Bazaar. We will be
showcasing the contributions of ancient cultures to the development of our current math understanding. It will
be set up like a museum exhibition and hopefully we can draw a crowd."
- Daniel Coapstick, Patch High School Sponsor in Stuttgart, Germany
Whether it is students within your two-year college or high school or students at neighboring elementary and middle schools,
good tutors are always needed. For many students, tutoring hours also help fulfill volunteer hours.
Run a Middle School or Elementary School Math Contest
"On Saturday, April 6th, the members of Mu Alpha Theta, Brewster's math honor society, ran their 4th annual
Math-a-thon. Seventy third graders signed up to participate in this event. All the proceeds received were sent to
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to benefit the patients there.
When the kids arrive at the Math-a-thon, they are escorted to meet their group leaders. They are excited to
do fun math activities while helping other children. They happily decorate bags where they will put all of the
math work that they complete. After one and a half hours of rotating to different math stations, the third
graders take a lunch break. While eating, they watch a video taken at St. Jude Hospital. The kids in the video
explained their experiences at the hospital and how participating in this program will help countless cancer
patients. When lunch is over, the Mu members bring the 3rd graders to the gym for interactive activities like
basketball and freeze dance. This helps them release some energy after all their hard work. They are eager to
get back to their math station when recess ends. They quickly put their brains back to work to solve their next
set of problems.
Along with the third graders, the members of Mu Alpha Theta enjoy being part of the Math-a-Thon. Helping the
third-graders improve their math skills while having fun is a rewarding experience. Besides completing workbook
pages with the children, they build structures, go on scavenger hunts, and work with tangrams. The high school
students bond with the children as the day goes on. All the members are happy to see so many children willing to
help raise money for such a great cause.
At the end of the day, the parents arrive to pick up their children. Both the third graders and the high
school students leave the Math-a-thon proud of everything they have accomplished."
- Helen Najjar, Darcy Carlin, & Jamie Maguire, Brewster High School Members in Brewster, NY
"I took 48 members to our 6th grade center (almost 500 students there) and spent the day doing a "Mighty Mu
Mystery Day". For the first three hours students from the 6th grade center played survivor style games to earn
"clues" for three color coded mysteries--using technology (online geocaching, videos, library searches to find a
specific book given only hints about the book), using puzzles (heiroglyphics, codes) and plain old survivior
style games (spiders in goo they had to find the one with their answer, tricycle races, rope climbs, etc). After
sack lunches, the students were given their clues back (most had over 25-30 clues to put together) and spent the
afternoon (about 1-1.5 hours) solving their mysteries in their color coded groups and with a Mu Alpha theta
member and teacher teams. After they solved their mystery, they were asked to either make a video, newscast,
poster, prezi etc to share with the rest of their classes about their mystery. (some chose to do a tribal
council!) It was amazing walking around a building and seeing almost 500 students saying things like "it can't
be Batman, he was last seen at the park...it can't be my teacher, she drove a moped....)! The kids had a great
day (both high school and 6th grade center) and again...it was exciting to see real problem solving happening
all over the building!"
- Renita DeMalade, Waynesville High School Sponsor in Waynesville, MO
Community Service Projects
"Our chapter sponsors a monthly pizza & math luncheon that also serves as a fundraiser. Each year our small
group raises $500-$600 that the students then donate to local charities of the chapter's group vote. This year
we have filled a student's car twice with food to donate to a food pantry a few blocks from our school. We
sponsor three blood drives each school year and have 5 out of the last 6 years won a regional scholarship
based on percentage of donors compared to school population. We also sponsor a Pi Day celebration at our
school each March. This includes pizza and pie at lunch as well as a pi memorization contest open to K-12 and
a math bee for our grade school."
- Christine Stewart, The Governor French Academy Sponsor in Belleville, IL
Many Mu Alpha Theta chapters are active in community service projects in their
neighborhoods around the country. The American Cancer Society is excited about the
power and potential of Mu Alpha Theta members joining the fight against cancer. One
of the easiest ways Mu Alpha Theta members can become involved is through the American
Cancer Society Relay For Life. Members can form teams for their local Relay events,
volunteering their time at the event, and carrying out fundraising activities to
support the American Cancer Society. Relay offers everyone in the community an
opportunity to join the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local
high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around the track
or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times.
For more information see a brochure
or call 1-800-ACS-2345. Or, visit their
website at www.cancer.org/relay
Fund Scholarships for Chapter Members
"We had an active year and are a strong group now. We had our middle school contest, which was a success,
smaller than we hoped for but still successful. We had our Pi Day for the whole school math classes, we
participated in all school/pep rally contests...we participated in the Study Buddy program, we had “pizza, pop &
problems” activity which was fun for the
club and a great Christmas party and induction. With the funds we raised from the contest and Pi Day we gave
away two scholarships of $500 and $400."
- Sheila Horstman, Clarksville High School Sponsor in Clarksville, TN
Analyzing a Card Trick
This presentation “Analyzing a Card Trick” was based on an article in the Mathematics Teacher, March 2011
"AN EXCEL-LENT CARD TRICK" by Holly S. Zullo. In the article, Ms. Zullo describes a simple card trick
played with 15 cards in which a player selects a card and the magician finds the card through a series
of layouts. The article investigates the mathematics behind the magic. She wrote the article for an
exploration using an excel document. When I read the article I thought what an excellent example to
work on with graphing calculators.
The card layouts are neatly visualized with three functions. The functions involved are a linear,
a step function/greatest integer function, and a composite function. The function that maps the cards
to the “magic” place is the composite function of the linear and greatest integer function. Attached are
instructions for using the TI-84 and the TI-Npsire to display the mathematics. The card trick, which
intrigues students right away, is a real world example of the composite and a greatest integer functions.
Please feel free to use the activity in your classroom. Here are the Worksheets and the Power Point
- Sheila Horstman (email@example.com), Clarksville High School Sponsor in Clarksville, TN
Invite a mathematician or scientist to make a presentation to your chapter. Or have a "Math Career Day" where
professionals from different mathematical occupations speak about their work and how math can be a career.
Problem of the Week
Create a Problem of the Week for your school. Publish in the school's newspaper or newsletter.
Chapter Newsletter or Website
Create a newsletter or website for your chapter where information can be shared and updated. Have members write
Sponsor classes, before or after school, on topics of special interest such as how to use a calculator, elementary
computer programming, the fundamentals of personal finance, and more!
Member of the Year
Establish an award for the outstanding mathematics student of each year.
Host a Regional Meeting
Host a meeting of Mu Alpha Theta chapters in your area, state, or region.
Have students bring games with mathematical elements and throw a game night party.
Websites & Resources
A good website to visit is Thinking Mathematics!.
James Tanton has written several math books which include interesting problems and activities. This site also includes
courses, videos, puzzles, curriculum ideas, and more.
Try out Math Club in a Box :The MAA provides all sorts of Math Club activities
for you and your students to enjoy.
Also see http://www.maa.org/students/chapter_news/spring2009/math_club_ina_box.html
The MAA/AMC self-publishes an annual "AMC 10/12 Math Club Package". It's approximately 150-page booklet with
ideas for running a high school math club, together with lots of practice materials, mostly for competition
preparation. It comes with a CD of AMC math contests. Chapters can purchase it for $25 here.
Some suggested activities by the former sponsor of the
Peddie School in New Jersey.
If you have activities to add, please email us with your ideas.