New Chapter Ideas
Chapter Formation Suggestions
Marvin Jones, Jr. from the James Benson Dudley High School chapter in Greensboro, NC wrote this manual.
Anita Szombathelyi from Airline High School in Bossier City, LA made these suggestions.
Bert T. Shoemaker, from Evans High School in Evans, GA, has these suggestions for building your Mu Alpha Theta Chapter.
Sample Chapter Activities
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 environment."
- 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 Presentation.
- Sheila Horstman (firstname.lastname@example.org), Clarksville High School Sponsor in Clarksville, TN
Guest Speakers: invite a mathematician or scientist to make a presentation to your chapter or host 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: publish in the school's newspaper or newsletter.
Chapter Newsletter or Website
School Seminars: 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 of Mu Alpha Theta chapters in your area, state, or region.
Game Night: have students bring games with mathematical elements.
Websites & Resources
"AMC 10/12 Math Club Package" can be purchased for $25 here.
Pi Day Activities & Resources by David Masunaga
Donations from Local Businesses - 'We get together one day after school, come up with a letter requesting financial donations, and send our letters to businesses all over the city. We usually send about an average of 100 letters to different businesses that have supported us in the past or that we think will give donations, such as local area doctors, big businesses and banks. Every year, this usually brings in enough money to cut costs down to a minimum for our students to go [to the national convention]. In some cases, it has completely covered all costs.' ( Contributed by Ruben Briano, Carter High School.)
Car Washes - Carter High School in Tennessee has many car washes each year. Sam's Club matches the amount of money they raise.
Candy Sales - Stoneman Douglas HS in Florida raised $3000 through candy sales. They have purchased the candy at Sam's Club and through a school board-approved fund raising company.
Donuts - During exam week, Highland Spring HS in Virginia sells Krispy Kreme donuts. They usually make about $500, selling around 125 dozen donuts a day.
Breakfasts - Carter High School in Tennessee raises around $1000 by holding a breakfast at either Applebee's or Texas Roadhouse. The restaurant is closed to the public, and the only people allowed to dine are those who have bought tickets from Carter students. The students serve the diners and bus the tables.
Candle sales - Stoneman Douglas HS in Florida raises around $3000 through Yankee Candle Sales.
Work at concession stands - Vero Beach HS in Florida works the concession stands at their home football games. The School Board allows them to keep half the profits, which total up to $8000.
Guess How Much Candy - Fill a jar with the candy of your choice and sell chances to guess how much candy is in the jar. The closest guess wins the jar. Highland Spring HS in Virginia sells candy along with the chances. They report that they only net $50-100, but that the students really enjoy participating.
Host a school dance
Raffle or Auction
Pi Day Activities - Sell pies or other baked goods on March 14th or host Pi Day celebrations and sell tickets for students to throw pies at their teachers' faces.
Sell a school calendar