By Brian Simanek

Recently, a local elementary school student sent me a letter as part of a class assignment. He said he was interested in studying math in college and asked me about extra work he can do to get ahead in math. The first thing that entered my mind was MATHCOUNTS, which I suggested to him. Other than that, I didn’t have many exciting ideas. Of course I emphasized the importance of working hard in school and asking his teachers about preparing for standardized tests like the SAT, but in my mind, he would be living up to every expectation if his math education through high-school consisted exclusively of what he was taught in classes. On the other hand, I really wanted to send him a reply that would increase his enthusiasm for math. Does anybody recall something they did during elementary school (let’s say fifth grade) that piqued their interest in math and would recommend to a current student?

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