The mission of the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival is to inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem-solving.
The festival is a noncompetitive celebration of great ideas and problems in mathematics. We will have several dozen tables of rich math problems and activities led by our volunteers, who are lovers of mathematics from different disciplines, representing mathematicians, teachers, engineers, programmers, graduate students, and more.
Join us for this noncompetitive celebration of great ideas and problems in mathematics.
What: Julia Robinson Math Festival
When: April 4, 1pm – 5pm
Who: For 4th – 10th graders
Where: North Ballroom, 2nd Floor HUB Building, University of Washington Campus.
Price: $10 – 15. Free and reduced registration is available. Use the discount code “scholarship” to get an additional 50% discount.
Special thanks for the American Institute of Mathematics, the Math Department at the University of Washington, and Puget Sound Council of Teachers of Mathematics for their support. To make a tax-deductible donation to the festival, click here and choose Seattle from the drop down menu.
How it works:
During the festival, students can join any table and work collaboratively with the volunteers and students there. Students are welcome to try out several tables until they find one that particularly interests them; once they do, they are encouraged to spend 30 – 45 minutes or more at that activity. Almost no activities will be possible to finish completely during the festival. Students will be able to take home activities that they have spent time on. There will also be a mathematical games area.
At 4:30, we will have a closing talk.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Can parents participate?
No. Parents may not participate at the tables with their students and volunteers. However, we will have some tables where parents may chat with each other, work on festival problems, and play mathematical games.
• But I love math! Why can’t I join in?
If you would like to be a part of the festival, we would love to have you volunteer! However, it is important for students to have space from their parents during the event itself to make mistakes, work with their peers, and just relax and have a good time. Also, there is limited seating, and we want to make sure there is enough space for the kids.
• I have a conflict. Can I come late/leave early?
Yes. This is an easy festival to drop into for as long as you’d like.
•I want to bring a group. How should I go about it?
Email Dan to work out the details.
• My 3rd-grader is 9, and would love this. Can I bring them?
No. The festival is for 4th grade and up only. This means students should be at least 10 years old.
• What if my third grader is doing sixth grade math?
While some 3rd graders can handle the material, we need to make sure the festival feels accessible for the middle and high school students. We have to draw a hard line on grade level for social reasons.
• Can I drop my kids off and leave?
We are providing oversight for the mathematics activities, but we are not keeping track of each child. You are responsible for your child. You may leave them unattended at the festival, but only if you trust them to handle themselves.
• How is this different from a math competition?
The goal is not speed, or superficial right answers. Our math activities are designed to engage and perplex. Students should expect to persevere. They will generally spend 30-60 minutes on activities and not finish completely.
• Will this be too hard for my child?
Our volunteers are there to help kids find an entry point into even the most difficult activities. We will also provide guidance on good places to start.
• Will this be too easy for my child?
• You haven’t met my child. He/she is a kind of math prodigy…
Trust us. The problems they’ll encounter at this festival will be novel, and go to a depth that most students never see. There will even be some unsolved problems floating around. Challenge won’t be a problem.
• My child is not really into math. Is this for mathy kids only?
This festival is designed to appeal to a broad audience, not just those who identify as math lovers already. That said, please don’t force students who are not interested in coming to join us. If students are open to the idea of seeing a different side of math on a Saturday afternoon, we will do our best to show them what we think is beautiful, profound, and wonderful about the subject. This festival is for any student who comes to it with an open and curious mind.
• Can I take copies of all the problems home with me?
No, with exceptions. Your student may take copies of the problems they work on for a substantial quantity of time. Please don’t go from table to table and collect pages. If you would like problems from previous years, many are available at http://juliarobinsonfestival.org/problems.html.
• How can I learn more about this festival?
For information about Julia Robinson Math Festivals around the country, go to http://juliarobinsonfestival.org.
• What is parking like?
You can park for free in the UW campus lots after noon on Saturday.
• Who was Julia Robinson?
She was a 20th Century mathematician who worked at Berkeley, where the festival was first founded. You can read about her at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Robinson.
• Anything else? Email Dan at dan [at] mathforlove [dot] com.