Math Mania

Math Mania is a popular alternative math education event sponsored by PIMS' UBC and University of Victoria sites, which has run in elementary schools on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland since 1997. Held several times a year, Math Mania welcomes all age levels, but is particularly suited to students in grades 2 to 5. Math Mania is free and open to the public and all students, parents and teachers in the host school, as well as those involved in home schooling, are encouraged to attend. Events usually attract more than 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, are undergraduate or graduate students, or faculty or staff at the UBC and University of Victoria Departments of Mathematics and Statistics. Recently we have added excellent volunteers from nearby private schools. This represents an experiment in using peer instruction and also can serve as a recruiting tool to bring good students into UBC and 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!"

There is a waiting time of about one year for a school wishing to host a Math Mania event.

Contact Us

For more information or to organize a Math Mania at your school please contact:

In the greater Victoria area:

Kristina McKinnon
(250) 472-4271
pims@uvic.math.ca

In the greater Vancouver area:

Melania Alvarez-Adem
(604) 822-0404
melania@pims.math.ca