Who are we?
The mission of the Mathlete Coaching Project (or MCP or “Mathletes”) is to create a community around mathematics, consisting of teachers, middle school and college students, families, and the university.
The program is coordinated by Ksenija Simic-Muller, with occasional assistance from other faculty in the Mathematics Department. We work with Keithley Middle School, located across the street from PLU. The PLU coaches are students from a variety of backgrounds, from first-years to seniors, and with a variety of majors (though primarily mathematics).
Who can be a coach?
We are always looking for new coaches. You do not have to be a math, or education, or science major to join. The only requirement is that you like mathematics and like working with middle-school students.
This is a paid position and requires up to 40 hours of your time in a year. You will spend 1.25 hours a week with students and up to an hour a week planning for the session. You will also have regular coach training meetings, approximately once every three weeks for 1.5 hours.
What do we do?
PLU student coaches conduct weekly after-school coaching sessions in Keithley Middle School, consisting of problem solving, mathematical games, and hands-on activities. The coaches serve as role models for the students, showing them that mathematics can be exciting, and making the idea of college education more accessible.
In addition to the coaching sessions, we organize occasional campus visits. In spring 2017, Mathletes students visited two mathematics classes and a science lab, as well as the Old Main Market, Diversity Center, and The Cave. The visit was a big success.
Our favorite activities
Mathlete coaches frequently engage students in problem solving through mathematical games. Some of their favorite games are the following:
Favorite problems and activities are from:
The Mathlete Coaching Project is funded by a Tensor-SUMMA grant from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The Tensor-SUMMA (Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement) program supports projects designed to encourage the pursuit and enjoyment of mathematics by students who are members of groups historically underrepresented in mathematics. In 2017, the Tensor Foundation donated $88,000 in support of these projects to 17 institutions across the U.S.