**What's a Math Circle?**

Math Circles began over 100 years ago in Eastern Europe, and spread through
Russia and Asia before finally coming to the US about 25 years ago and to
Santa Barbara about 10 years ago. They've also been gradually spreading to younger students, at least in the U.S.

All Math Circles take a “problem-discussion approach to math education,”
most expose young students to mathematicians and/or related professionals,
and some participate in math

competitions and/or hold their own contests. (Our lower elementary school one will
do a lot of the first, a little of the second, and even less of the third.)

**Well, then, what's a Math Ellipse?**

A circle is a special case of an ellipse. Ellipses have a property called
*eccentricity*, which

measures how elongated they are. The eccentricity is always a positive number
between

zero and one, except that perfect circles have an eccentricity of zero.
(Our logo above has an eccentricity of 0.8855, whereas the eccentricity
of the earth's orbit around the sun is 0.0017.)

So a Math Ellipse is an *eccentric* Math Circle. Since Santa Barbarians
tend to be somewhat eccentric, we thought it would be appropriate to call
our Math Circle a Math Ellipse.

If you don't know what an ellipse is or what eccentricity is, don't worry
– you'll learn all that

and more at the first meeting.

**Whom is it for?**

The Lower Elementary School Santa Barbara Math Ellipse is open to any interested
student, including homeschoolers, in Grades 1-4. Motivated, advanced younger
students may also attend with
permission of the organizer.

**Why?**

The general goal of Math Circles is to engage highly-motivated students
in the exploration of intriguing mathematical topics that are beyond the
standard curriculum. This is done in a collaborative environment fostering
the development of creative thinking skills through problem solving. Such
skills are applicable not only to mathematical research but to careers in
science

and engineering as well as other areas of life.

As an important by-product, Math Circles also provide opportunities for kids who enjoy math to socialize with similarly inclined kids in a relatively informal educational environment.

**When and Where
is it?**

Meetings are held once a week on a weekday afternoon, from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m., approximately.

You will be given the exact location of the meetings
after your registration form is received.

**How much does it cost? **

The cost per meeting is $30 for students who are are signed up for the whole term.

You may try out up to two meetings at $35 before deciding whether to sign up for the term - and the rate will be reduced *retroactively* with sign-up.

Scholarships based on both need and merit are available.