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Courtesy photo. Beach Middle School Math Club explores concepts such as topology, number patterns and imaginary numbers.

By Lisa Carolin

You might be surprised to learn just how many students at Beach Middle School enjoy mathematics. So much so that the school has created a Math Club.

Lisa Orlandi-Korner, a Beach parent, leads the Math Club, which is aimed at sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders who want to try out new math ideas and activities in a relaxed and welcoming social environment.

“We meet every Wednesday after school, and typical attendance hovers around 20 students,” said Orlandi-Korner. “We also have small groups of sixth-graders who meet during school. By the end of the year, I expect that well over a quarter of Beach sixth-graders will have attended some Math Club meetings.”

Orlandi-Korner says the purpose of the clubs is to explore a wide variety of mathematical ideas in a fun, friendly, supportive community. Some of the students’ favorite topics include topology, number patterns, logic and paradoxes, imaginary numbers, and infinity.

“My first clue of Math Club’s importance to our kids is that they keep showing up, week after week and year after year,” said Orlandi-Korner. “The majority of kids who join in sixth-grade are still with us when they graduate from Beach.  At first, maybe they came because they liked math or wanted to try something new, but it’s really the experience of belonging to our unique community that keeps the kids involved in the long term.”

Orlandi-Korner participated in a similar club when she was in middle school and went on to work as a mathematician at the University of Nebraska.

She says that the “club” aspect is so important for middle schoolers that she sometimes worries that the “math” part is getting lost.

“Then I pay more attention to the debates, the conversations, the new ideas, and the personal, social, and intellectual growth that I witness every Wednesday, and I know that Math Club is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do,” she said.

Courtesy photo. Beach Middle School’s Math Club popular with students.

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