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Kathryn Bollinger (center), senior lecturer of mathematics, works with SEE-Math campers on a map coloring exercise.

COLLEGE STATION --

As another summer winds down, excitement about mathematics is heating up on the Texas A&M University campus, thanks to the annual Summer Educational Enrichment (SEE) in Math Program that helps middle school students explore their potential in mathematics and related careers.

The two-week afternoon program, now in its 11th year and under way through Friday (Aug. 17), is offered by the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics for select honors students entering grades 6-8 and is designed to foster positive attitudes toward mathematics and science. Philip B. Yasskin, associate professor of mathematics and SEE-Math director, says the primary goal is to help high-achieving students find excitement in the discovery of mathematics and science concepts, and to provide them with the knowledge, confidence and encouragement to continue their studies in mathematics and science-related fields.

All sessions are conducted by Texas A&M mathematics professors, who are assisted by counselors -- primarily undergraduate students and high school students who previously participated in the program as campers.

Using both group and one-on-one activities, faculty and counselors help participants master exciting mathematics-related concepts, such as creating movies on a computer, counting in complicated situations, coloring maps, decrypting codes, counting infinities and visualizing 3- and 4-dimensional geometry.

Kenji Blum, an 8th grader at A&M Consolidated Middle School, heard about the program from friends who previously had attended it. To him, it's important to learn mathematics because it's a lifelong skill.

"We see math all around us," says Blum, momentarily pausing from his break-time analysis of DC versus Marvel Comics. (For the record, his money's on Marvel.) "If we learn it now, we will be able to use it in the future, whether in our careers or just in our everyday lives."

Blum, who wants to be an architect, says his favorite aspect of the program thus far has been the mathematics tricks he has learned, including using the power of two and other techniques to master one particularly intriguing assignment this week known as King Arthur problems.

Benjamin Garrett, a 6th grader from Houston whose father works for Boeing, found out about SEE-Math while attending the 2012 Texas A&M Physics and Engineering Festival and is interested in a future in programming or possibly robotics.

"I think without math, you can't communicate very well," Garrett says. "Plus, I think it's fun to program."

Participants' parents and siblings are encouraged to attend all Friday activities to celebrate the conclusion of the program. Events will begin at 1:30 p.m. with student-created movies, followed by a 2:30 p.m. awards ceremony and the 3:30 p.m. Aggieland premiere of the animated film Sphereland -- the sequel to Flatland: The Movie, which received rave reviews when shown this spring as part of the department's 2012 Math Mini Fair activities. All events will take place in the John R. Blocker Building, Room 102.

For more information on SEE-Math or Friday's closing activities, please visit the program website or call (979) 862-4306.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Philip B. Yasskin, (979) 845-3734 or yasskin@math.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • SEEing Possibilities

    Texas A&M mathematics professor Philip Yasskin (right) has served since 2002 as director of the Summer Educational Enrichment (SEE) in Math Program, which helps gifted middle school students unlock their future potential in mathematics and science.

  • Philip B. Yasskin

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