EMF is More Than just a High Level Math Course

Andrei Chekmasov completed the EMF Math program during grades 6-8 through his public school district. As a 10th grader, he wrote the following guest blog post in which he describes the unique opportunities made available to him because he is an EMF graduate.

Many would consider me lucky. I was born in a family that values mathematics highly, tutoring me in advanced concepts at a younger age than other students. Thanks to these efforts to expand my knowledge of mathematics, I was one of the few students admitted to the first ever EMF math program sponsored by BCPS (Broward County Public Schools).

Over the next three years of middle school, my classmates and I worked diligently to complete the daunting EMF course materials. Although learning difficult material was tiring, the trivia, references, and games that EMF included throughout the courses definitely lessened the load. I remember the excitement I felt back in sixth grade when I had finally managed to get first place in all the versions of the “String Game,” only to be toppled in one of them shortly after.

EMF was not just a course where a student studies the material the teacher provides; instead, it fostered our friendships within the class as we worked to reach our shared goals and overcome our shared obstacles. Despite being an online course, the close interactions between us made the course more interesting and enticing. However, all good things must come to an end. As we approached the last module, Precalculus Coda, it became apparent that the exciting adventure was coming to an end.

EMF Tutors

Or was it? Just when it seemed like we were to bid farewell to the program, a new idea sprang up: EMF Tutors. As graduates, we were given the privilege of teaching our underclassmen the materials we had studied. I found this option particularly attractive, since I enjoyed working together with my fellow classmates before. Although the online EMF professors gave us guidance as students if we had any issues with exercises, relying on each other was much easier when it came to solving problems.

Being an EMF Tutor helps me refresh my knowledge of various concepts from EMF and forces me to explain them to others. As it happens, I also tutor non-EMF students at school, many of whom are struggling with simpler concepts than what I had learned in EMF. Of course, I try my best to teach them these subjects so that they can succeed in their classes. Through these experiences, I’ve come to realize that knowing something and being able to explain it are separate skills.

University of Florida Dual Enrollment

Aside from tutoring, EMF, BCPS and UF (University of Florida) collaborated to develop a path for mathematically talented students in high school. Through dual enrollment with UF, EMF graduates can continue to study difficult concepts even after completing the program.

Normally, dual enrollment is not permitted for freshmen, but this case is an exception. As a sophomore in my second year of this program, I have completed Calculus AB (MAC2311), Calculus BC (MAC2312), and Multivariate Calculus (MAC2313). These courses were each more challenging than the last. Calculus AB was easy for me, but the study of series in Calculus BC proved to be quite challenging. However, these courses paled in comparison to Multivariate Calculus. I had to spend much of my time researching the material in order to pass the assignments.

Although EMF’s actual course material did not play as great a role as I had expected (largely because it was more advanced than this calculus), the logical reasoning and analytical skills I had developed over the three years in EMF helped me immensely. Frankly, I doubt that I would have been able to work through the material had I not taken EMF. In the end, I passed all the courses with good grades.

Chalkdust Magazine

Approximately a year ago, the EMF Professors introduced me to Chalkdust and encouraged me to submit an article. Chalkdust is a magazine for the mathematically inclined that caters to readers of all ages. After searching through the various topics taught by EMF, I settled on writing about Georg Cantor, the father of modern set theory. In particular, I chose to focus on the properties of various linearly ordered sets.

After studying the material for some time and coming up with an article, it was time to submit it. Unsurprisingly, it was rejected. After all, I had never written a mathematical piece prior to this. Luckily, that was not the end of my hard work. Instead of rejecting me outright, the Chalkdust team paired me with mentors to improve my article. Over the next few months, every word of my article was scrutinized, and every idea evaluated. Needless to say, the final version of my article was very different from my original draft.

After quite some time, my paper was approved to be a part of the tenth issue of the magazine. Surrounded by articles from university professors and PhD students, it definitely felt unique. This would not have been possible without the help of the EMF professors, who brought this magazine to my attention and gave me the idea to write an article for it.

Precalculus Coda, Part Two

I learned recently that the Precalculus Coda course was extended with more beneficial material added to it. Along with that came unsolved exercises. Of course, I can’t call myself an EMF graduate if I left a part of the course untouched, so it’s safe to say that I’ve got some new plans for winter break!

Additional Commentary by EMF Graduates