2016 AMC 8 Registration is open!

The Bard Math Circle is hosting the national AMC 8 contest on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.


The event is for students with a passion for problem-solving who are in grade 8 or below and under 14.5 years of age on the day of the contest. There is no charge, but registration is required in advance to reserve your seat at Bard.

After the 25-question, 40-minute, multiple choice exam, students will be treated to a snack, followed by an engaging math talk by a Bard College mathematician.

Bard undergraduate math majors are offering preparation sessions during the weekends leading up to the contest, starting on October 1, 2016.

Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Time: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Location: Bard College Reem-Kayden Center for Science and Computation (RKC)
Address: 31 Campus Road, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504

Register on Eventbrite.


Press Contact: Darren O’Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— On Tuesday, November 18, the Bard Math Circle will host the middle-school-level American Mathematics Competition (AMC 8) exam. In its third year at Bard, this 25-question, 40-minute exam contains engaging math problems that are challenging at the middle-school level, and is intended to inspire, promote enthusiasm, and foster a healthy attitude toward mathematics. Students will be exposed to the richness of middle-school-level mathematics at a deeper level than is ordinarily encountered in the schools. The contest, followed by a talk, takes place from 4–7 p.m. in the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center. The competition is free, but pre-registration is required. To register for the competition and weekly prep sessions visit http://tinyurl.com/2014BardAMC8 .
In 2013 more than 150,000 students from more than 2,300 schools participated in the AMC 8 contest, including 83 students from 31 schools who took the exam at Bard. AMC 8, first offered in 1985, is an annual project sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. The Bard Math Circle is also offering weekly prep sessions every Saturday until the exam to help students develop problem-solving strategies and expose them to math that they will encounter on the test. After the math contest, Japheth Wood, assistant professor of mathematics Master of Arts in Teaching Program, will present a talk on the mathematical theory of games.
For more information about the AMC competitions, please visit amc.maa.org. To learn more about the AMC 8 at Bard, contact Japheth Wood, jwood@bard.edu, or the Math Circle at bardmathcircle@gmail.com.
The Bard Math Circle, organized by students and faculty at Bard College, is a mathematical enrichment program geared toward middle school and upper elementary students. The Bard Math Circle brings puzzles and games and runs hands-on workshops in local libraries and schools to help students strengthen their critical thinking skills, and to make math more fun. The Bard Math Circle also runs a competition program, and a summer academic math program. Learn more about our programs at bardmathcircle.org.
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October Approaches

The Bard Math Circle is excited to finish up a productive September with events at the Tivoli and Kingston Libraries, and prepare for an October jam-packed with events.

This Friday, October 3rd at 4:00 PM we will begin with our monthly visit to the Tivoli Free Library. We will be offering puzzles and games, a hands-on math project, and a challenging problem set. Sign up here to attend, although we always welcome walk-ins.

On Saturday, October 18th we will be having a Math Circle on Bard College campus in the Reem-Kayden Center for Science and Computation. This event will feature our open-classroom format, with puzzles, problems, and hands-on mathematics. Our Bard student volunteers are working hard to develop a series of math activities that should make for a fun, somewhat carnival-style environment.

Additionally, in preparation for the AMC8 middle school mathematics competition in November we will be hosting weekly prep sessions starting this Saturday, October 4th.

You can sign up here for the Circle on the 18th at Bard and the AMC8 prep program.

AMC 8 Registration Update

We’re less than 4 weeks away from the AMC 8 Contest, and here is an update on registration, and some other information.

Total Registration

We now have 54 students registered for the AMC 8. If everyone attended, we’d surpass last year’s attendance of 49 students (although we had 71 students register, total).

Grade Levels

Any student 14.5 years of age or younger on the day of the contest and not enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 or equivalent is eligible to participate.
We now have:
22 Eighth graders
13 Seventh graders
9 Sixth graders
9 Fifth graders
1 Earlier grade

Schools Represented

If there are 10 or more students from a school, they form a section. At the discretion of the Bard Math Circle, we may form additional sections by grouping schools (i.e. by city or county). All the remaining students will also form a section. Certificates are given to the top 3 students in each section.
We now have this many students from the following schools. Tell your classmates, and try to form a full section!
11 Van Wyck Junior High School
8 Saugerties Junior High School
6 Union Vale Middle School
3 Lagrange Middle School
2 Fishkill Elementary School
2 Highland Middle School
2 St. Mary School, Fishkill
1 Arlington Middle School
1 Ascension Holy Trinity
1 Brinckerhoff Elementary School
1 Bulkeley Middle School
1 Gayhead Elementary School
1 Germantown Central School
1 Grant D. Morse Elementary School
1 Hagan Elementary School
1 Harry L Edson Elementary School
1 Haviland Middle School, Hyde Park, NY
1 Linden Avenue Middle School
1 MC Miller Middle School
1 Mizzentop Day School
1 Netherwood Elementary School
1 Pawling Middle School
1 Robert E. Bell Middle School
1 St. Joseph School
1 Todd Middle School
1 Vail Farm Elementary School
1 Wappingers Junior High School


No problems on the contest will require the use of a calculator. However, you may bring rulers, protractors, and erasers. We’ll provide #2 pencils and unmarked scratch paper (but you can bring those too).

Information Collected on the Answer Form

Before the exam, you must fill in the following information, so don’t forget it!

  1. Last Name
  2. First Name
  3. Middle Initial
  4. Section Letter (we’ll announce these later)
  5. Age/date of birth, grade and gender.

Prepare for the AMC 8!

We are hosting a practice class for the AMC8 on Friday, November 8th at 5:00 PM. We will be looking at some example problems and going over some problem-solving strategies. Obviously we can only accomplish a limited amount on a single Friday evening, but if you are interested in preparing for the test this practice session is great.
Space in the class is limited. To request a spot please use the form at this link. Spots will be given on a first-come-first-serve basis.
You can also check our AMC 8 Page for online resources to prepare.


2013-2014 Kingston Schedule, AMC 8

We’re planning out events for the next school year, and here are two programs that will be running, starting this fall:

Event: Monthly math circle in Kingston, NY
Location: Kingston Library, 55 Franklin Street
Dates: We will meet on the following Saturdays, 1pm – 3pm:

     2013: September 28, October 26, November 23, December 21 
     2014: February 8, March 8, April 12, May 10, June 14
Audience: Geared toward middle school and upper elementary students
Interested? Email bardmathcircle@gmail.com and ask to join our Kingston email list.

Educators: Sign up on My Learning Plan to participate and earn credit.

Program: We feature puzzles and games, challenging problems, and hands-on projects. We help students strengthen their critical thinking skills and make math more fun. 


Event: American Math Contest 8 (AMC 8)

Location: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 4pm-6pm.
Audience: Top math students in grades 5-8.
Interested? Email bardmathcircle@gmail.com and ask to join our AMC 8  email list. We’ll provide more information this fall.
Contest: The 25 question, 40 minute AMC 8 Contest contains engaging math problems that are challenging at the middle school level. The exam is intended to inspire, promote enthusiasm, and a healthy attitude towards mathematics. Students will be exposed to the richness of middle school level mathematics at a deeper level than ordinarily encountered in the schools.


Program: Students and their families will be welcomed with refreshments before the exam. Afterwards, everyone will be treated to an engaging math talk, courtesy of the Bard Math Department.

January 2013 Update

Dear Bard Math Circle Community,

In November last year the Bard Math Circle offered the AMC 8 Math Competition for the first time, and had a fantastic turnout. Forty eight middle school students from around the area came to Bard College for this national exam, and worked on 25 mathematical problems in a 40 minute period.

The problems were challenging far beyond what students normally encounter in school: the median score was 9 problems correct (there was no penalty for a wrong answer or for guessing). For some this was a humbling experience (but not a humiliating one, I hope). There was a excitement about sharing solutions at our December math circles, and a lot of learning going on.

The AMC 8 Results are in!

According to the official report on the exam, there was one perfect score at Bard, by Sanath Kumar, who traveled to Bard from Westchester County with his family. Sanath was 9 years old at the time of AMC 8, and has since turned 10. He is in grade 6 at Our Montessori School. Congratulations, Sanath, and thanks for taking the contest at Bard College!

The next highest scores were:

  • Michael Liu, a student at Bailey MS in Kingston, grade 8. 
  • Katie Houston, a student at Miller MS in Kingston, grade 7.
  • Twins Erik Simon and Henry Cowherd of Ichabod Crane MS in Valatie, both grade 7.
A hearty congratulations to every student who took the exam! You learned some math along the way, and had fun doing it. For links to nicely written solutions, please see previous posts. 
If you would like a printed solution packet (while they last), then come by a math circle for a copy. If you’d like to know your score, please send a friendly email to bardmathcircle@gmail.com or stop by the next math circle meeting in Kingston on February 9.

The Parent Survey

While the middle school students were taking the exam their parents filled out a survey. The results were very positive (which is called a selection bias in statistical studies) but gave lots of useful information towards future programming.
There was interest in:
  • a more sustained math circle experience, such as, a 10-session semester program or summer day program. 
  • math circles at other libraries and as an after-school program at schools around the area.
  • volunteering for the Bard Math Circle.
Please follow our blog (bardmathcircle.blogspot.com) and our email announcements for information on future initiatives based on the survey. Thanks for filling out the survey, parents!

Alcumus for online learning

As an informal first step towards a more sustained math circle experience, I invite those math circle students who are focused on solving challenging problems to sign up for Alcumus, a free online problem system offered by the Art of Problem Solving. Alcumus has over 5,000 challenging math problems with full solutions, and is great for student practice. If you’re interested in helping me try out this system, please do the following:
  1. Open a free account on the Art of Problem Solving website, www.artofproblemsolving.com.
  2. If you are under 13 years old, you will be directed to print out the COPPA form for your parents to fill out and send in. This is important, so please do it, even though it will take longer.
  3. Log into Alcumus by clicking on the link in the top navigation menu. Try some problems.
  4. Email me with your Art of Problem Solving name so I can add you to the Bard Math Circle course.
  5. Start solving! I will seek ways to connect your online work with our Kingston Library meetings, while not detracting from everyone’s mathematical experience, even if they are not problem-focused.
If you have trouble getting started on the system, please email me, and I’ll try to help.
The Alcumus system is open to anyone, so once we get it going, it will be fun to invite friends, siblings, parents and teachers.
Here’s to our math circles in 2013!
Japheth Wood
Bard Math Circle co-director

AMC 8 Solutions

The AMC 8 Solutions have been published on the AMC website. But the real fun is happening at the Art of Problem Solving resource wiki, where you can already read nicely written solutions.
If you kept a record of the answers you submitted, you can calculate your informal score (out of 25). How did you do?
My informal score is 23. I had a lot of fun working on these problems (without a time constraint) during the week after the AMC 8, while riding around on the NYC subway, shuttling between appointments. I missed problems 21 and 22, mainly because I didn’t read carefully what was being asked. On the other hand, it’s been a long time since I was in middle school. I think I would also have really enjoyed them way back then!
Please leave a comment about your experience with the AMC 8. What were your favorite problems? Do you have a solution you’re proud of? What did you miss, and why? If you can join us on Saturday, December 8th, we’ll share some solutions at the math circle meeting at the Kingston Library, 1pm-3pm.
See you there!

AMC 8 Exams are on their way back

Good Morning,
The AMC 8 exam was last Tuesday, and 48 middle school students gathered at Bard College to face this challenging national exam. We collected the exam booklets at the end of the contest, to help ensure the integrity of the AMC 8. Now that the testing security window is over, the exams are on their way back to the students.
If you took the AMC 8, you should soon receive your exam booklet. If it does not arrive, or if you would like another copy (we have a few extras), we’ll bring them to the next math circle meeting at the Kingston Library on Saturday, December 8th, where we’ll discuss some of the problems (optional – we’ll still have a nice collection of math activities to choose from).
Can’t wait for Kingston? The official solutions will soon be published on the AMC Website, but the real fun is on the Art of Problem Solving Forum, where students around the country post and discuss their own solutions.
The AMC graders are hard at work, and as soon as they tell us how we did, we’ll share the results here and on our webpage.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!