Math Mania is a popular alternative math education event which has run in elementary schools in Victoria, Saanich, Sidney and Sooke since 1997. It is held three to four times a year. Although we welcome all age levels, it is particularly suited to students from grades 2 to 5. Math Mania is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the University of Victoria Site of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences. All students, parents and teachers in the host school are encouraged to attend. Parents involved in home schooling are also encouraged to come along with their children. Each event usually attracts over two hundred participants.
Math Mania presents a variety of interactive demonstrations, puzzles, games and art such as soap bubbles, 'get your goat' (Monty Hall game), the penny game, the Set Game, the 'Game of 24', kaleidoscopes and hexaflexagons, Nim, Tower of Hanoi, the amazing sorting network and a number of other mathematical puzzles and paradoxes. These activities are designed to demonstrate to children - and their parents - fun ways of learning both math and computer science concepts.
Math Mania is usually presented in a school gymnasium in the early evening, for a period of ninety minutes. Since a Math Mania event requires about twenty volunteers, it requires considerable forward planning. New activities are added each time. Our volunteers, all wearing the coveted Math Mania t-shirt, come from the undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff at the University of Victoria Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Recently we have added excellent volunteers from nearby St. Michaels University School, a private school. This represents an experiment in using peer instruction and also can serve as a recruiting tool to bring good students into UVic and hopefully, some of them into mathematics.
Here is a comment from the principal of a school where we took our Math Mania program.
Students, parents and teachers were thrilled with the opportunity to work with your team of volunteers in exploring mathematics through the use of games. Your volunteers were pleasant and knowledgeable as well as fun-loving. The fact that your team consisted of a variety of people from different cultures and different ages and stages of life truly demonstrated that math can be fun for everyone!
Here are some thank-you cards sent to us by some students from Ḱelset Elementary.
Here is a review with video from our Math Mania event at Saint Michael University School.
There is a waiting time of about one year for a school wishing to host a Math Mania event.
For more information or to organize a Math Mania at your school please contact:
In the greater Victoria area:
In the greater Vancouver area: