MSU BILLINGS NEWS— Montana State University Billings will continue Math Circle sessions this spring beginning Wednesday, January 20 at 4 p.m. The sessions will be held virtually due to COVID-19 limitations and will continue once a month, January through April. Students in fourth to eighth grades, parents and teachers are all encouraged to participate.

The Math Circle aims to engage students, parents and teachers in hands-on activities to promote interest of the subject. It is led and organized by faculty members in the Department of Mathematics and math students at MSU Billings.

“We prioritize teaching ideas and topics that are not typically included in an everyday curriculum to advance curiosity,” comments Assistant Professor of Mathematics Tien Chih, Ph.D.

The schedule for spring semester includes:

· Jan. 20 Checkerstax—two players, red and black, sit before stacks of checkers with mixed colors. They can only lift up checkers of their own color, but when they do they can keep all the checkers above the ones they lift. The last player to move wins. Can we determine right away who the winner will be in any game? How can we adjust this game to form a new number system?

· Feb. 10 Staircases—How many different ways can you stock blocks together to form staircases? This seemingly simple question leads to deep and interesting queries about patterns and connections!

· March 10 King Chicken—A chicken is a King Chicken if its pecks other chickens or pecks a chicken who pecks other chickens. What can we say about flocks and how kings may appear?

· April 10 Counting Cats— what do Mountain peaks, paths, handshakes and parentheses have in common?

Each session will be hosted online via WebEx—email Dr. Chih for signup information.

The MSUB Math Circle is supported by the Dolciani Foundation and the Mathematical Association of America through the Dolciani Mathematics Grant, and by the MSRI Math Circle Mentorship and Partnership Program.

Learn more about the MSUB Math Circle online at and the Department of Mathematics online at

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