This press release was originally published in the BCPS Newsroom. Scroll down for videos of both lectures.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Kevin Knudson, professor and chair of the University of Florida (UF) Department of Mathematics and UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, recently presented two mathematics lectures to sixth through ninth grade students and graduates of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) EMF Math program. More than 100 students and parents attended the special event, hosted by the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science.
EMF Math or Elements of Mathematics: Foundations, is an advanced online curriculum for students in grades six through eight.
Samantha Carozzi, an eighth-grade student studying EMF Math at Pioneer Middle School, raved about how much she enjoyed Professor Knudson’s talk. “I learned so many interesting new ideas in his presentation and how they connect in unexpected ways,” said Carozzi.
Professor Knudson became interested in BCPS EMF Math students after learning about the unusually advanced math courses students take in middle school. The District launched the program in 2015 to give top students the opportunity to learn university-level mathematics, such as group theory, while also covering pre-algebra through precalculus.
“The mathematical maturity of these students is astonishing.” — Kevin Knudson, Professor of Mathematics
“The mathematical maturity of these students is astonishing,” said Professor Knudson. “While only in middle school they have a grasp of abstract topics that most undergraduates do not see until their second or third year at the university. Some of them will no doubt go on to be professional mathematicians, but all of them stand to benefit from the advanced mathematical reasoning skills they are learning no matter what field they choose as adults.”
“BCPS is to be commended for their commitment to these talented young men and women, and the EMF staff should be very proud of the work they are doing to help these kids reach their full potential,” added Knudson.
Guy Barmoha, director of Secondary Learning at BCPS, is thrilled to see the District’s EMF Math students making their mark on the world. “Our students are getting an amazing math education, which led to a world-class university professor wanting to meet them,” said Barmoha. “I’m proud to be part of a District that provides these kinds of learning opportunities.”
EMF Math graduates who enroll in a District high school and pass UF’s math placement exam, are allowed to take calculus courses through UF’s Online Dual Enrollment (DE) program as ninth-graders, two years earlier than usual. Students may take up to eight UF DE courses throughout high school.
Maximilliano Novak de Vries, an EMF Math graduate who is now a freshman at Cooper City High School, plans to complete all of his college math requirements by the end of his junior year of high school. “The head start I get from UF DE will allow me to focus on engineering when I am in college,” said Novak de Vries. “My goal is reachable because I participated in EMF Math.”
While Professor Knudson taught students about a variety of topics — the Fujimoto Approximation, “binary” decimals, the Wallis Sieve — parents attended their own presentation by Litza Echeverria Rubio from UF’s Online Dual Enrollment Department. Echeverria Rubio guided parents through the dual enrollment process at UF and answered general questions about the University’s admissions process.
“The presentation on UF’s dual enrollment program for EMF Math students came at the perfect time and addressed all of my questions and concerns,” said parent Cathy Ingemanson. “I am thankful to BCPS, EMF Math and UF for providing this amazing opportunity and supporting our children.”
Iain Ferguson, director of EMF Math, has watched the program grow as more public school districts seek cost-effective ways to shift the emphasis from rote memorization to creative problem-solving skills. “Students today need a math education that prepares them to think flexibly and take on problems in a wide variety of fields, even ones that don’t yet exist,” explained Ferguson. “That’s exactly what we designed EMF Math to do.”
For additional information about EMF Math or other great mathematics instruction opportunities that BCPS provides, contact Ann-Marie Evans, math curriculum supervisor, via email at email@example.com or call 754-321-2119.
Teachers and administrators not in Broward County Public Schools who wish to gain free access for their students to the first EMF Math course may register at https://www.EMFmath.com/schools.
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.
ABOUT INSTITUTE FOR MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
The Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS) is an independent teaching and educational research institute with centers in South Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, and Connecticut. Over 4,500 students from across the US and around the world attend local IMACS classes or study its online courses. For more information, visit imacs.org or EMFmath.com. Connect with IMACS and EMF Math on Facebook at facebook.com/eimacs and facebook.com/emfmath.
Photos by Matias Ocner.
For more by Professor Knudson, including the My Favorite Theorem podcast, visit kpknudson.com.
The UF Dual Enrollment program helps eligible accelerated high school students access coursework at the University of Florida from their home district.
Commentary by EMF Graduates
- EMF Math vs. The Traditional Approach to Learning Mathematics by Cole Travers
- Gifted EMF Alumna Shares Advice for Current & Future Students by Isabella Yeung
- EMF Insights by Olivia