Stellated Icosahedron Watch Out for that Last Step


Texas A&M University

Program Description

Since 2002, the Texas A&M Math Department has sponsored a Summer Educational Enrichment in Math (SEE-Math) Program for gifted middle school students entering the 6th, 7th or 8th grade under the direction of Philip Yasskin and David Manuel.


Each year we have had between 60 and 200 applicants. Of these. we have accepted 45-60 students based on their ability and interest in math and science as reported by their teachers. Many of the students have been identified as gifted and most are in advanced or honors math or science sections. Most students have completed 5th, 6th or 7th grade, but a few younger students have been accepted because of their advanced abilities. Each year, we have had about 40% females and about 20% minorities.

An effort is made to accept a few students from each of the Brazos Valley schools plus home schoolers plus a few from out of town. Parents must provide transportation each day. While there is no supervised over night accomodations, several students who are not in commuting distance have attended by staying with relatives in Bryan/College Station or with a parent in University dormitories.


Each year, the instruction has been provided by 8 to 15 faculty with the help of 3 to 7 grad students and 1 to 13 undergrad or high school students. Many years 7 or 8 former participants, now in high school or college, have returned as counselors. Several years, a middle school teacher also helped.


The program runs Monday through Friday for 2 weeks for 4 hours per day. Each day is divided into a first 70 minute class, a 30 minute "break time", a second 70 minute class and a 55 minute elective time where students can choose to work on their computer projects or go to a math games activity. The students are divided into 3 groups of 15 to 18 kids roughly according to grade to attend their classes. Each instructor teaches 1 or 2 classes, once for each age group. Each group is assigned an undergrad or grad counselor and a junior counselor who meet them when they arrive, escort them from class to class, assist the instructor during the class and supervise their dismissal.


Many of the activities covered in the regular class periods are listed and described on the Activities page, but this page is far from complete and far from up to date. One major activity is making Computer Animations using the Maple Computer Algebra system. You can see these on the Animations page.

In addition, there are several other activities:

During the "break time", the students can solve a daily problem, a Sudoku or KenKen and a Cryptogram, solve mathematical puzzles and play mathematical games while they eat their refreshments. Each night we also send some problems home to work with their families. They accumulate points for prizes at the end of the two weeks.

On Thursday of the second week, they participate in a Math Contest which is primarily based on the material covered in the program.

Some years, we have had a Buzz Contest or a CLUE-like Murder Mystery.

On Friday of the second week, we have an Open House for parents. We have a guest speaker, we show the students' computer animations, and we present awards.

© Philip B. Yasskin, 2005-17.
Last updated Aug 15, 2017