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MfA SD Math Camp

MfA SD Math Camp is a mathematics and leadership summer camp for San Diego County K-12 students. The MfA SD Math Camp offers both an academic and more traditional summer camp experience. Incoming high school students attend a mathematics class in the morning and participate in an outdoor leadership development program in the afternoon. For incoming 6th graders, a more traditional mathematics class is held mornings only. The camps are held at secondary schools and university sites throughout the county.


The MfA SD Math Camp mathematics curriculum focuses on proportional reasoning in algebra and geometry. We believe this concept is fundamental to a solid understanding of high school mathematics and beyond. Students work in small groups exploring different ways to solve interesting and challenging math problems, and learn how to share their thinking process and solutions in a supportive learning environment. Mathematics teachers from local middle and high schools, who are fellows in the prestigious Math for America San Diego fellowship program, teach the MfA SD math classes.

Leadership Development

For high school students, MfA SD Math Camp students participate in a fun and challenging leadership development program in the afternoon, designed and run by Arc, a nationally recognized after school and experiential education program. Arc’s mission is to “bridge the opportunity gap by creating transformational learning opportunities that empower youth to realize their full potential.” The MfA SD Math Camp’s two-week leadership development program features motivational activities that promote cooperation and teamwork, and build self-confidence. MfA SD Math Camp activities include teambuilding and goal setting, scavenger hunts, geocaching and off-campus field trips each Friday.  

Student reflections from previous MfA SD Math Camps

“This was a great experience. We worked in groups so we could see different points of view and discuss in detail our thinking as we worked through a problem. Having four teachers to help and to talk to was awesome!"

"This was extremely different from all the other math classes I have ever been in. Explaining things was never my forte and the class made me explain everything from why 100 divided by 2 was 50 to why a proportion was a proportion. It was difficult and I now understand why it is important."

“I did enjoy mathematics this week, we had the ability to describe our OWN methods of mathematical solutions and technologies. The class allowed us freedom in problem-solving. Mr. G. and Mr. A were great teachers, it was a fantastic opportunity and I am so happy to have had them.”

“My perspective of math changed because now I know how to look at a problem multiple ways and look for patterns.”

General Information

What is the MfA SD Math Camp?

MfA SD Math Camp is a 10-day mathematics and leadership summer camp for San Diego County K-12 students. The MfA SD Math Camp offers both an academic and more traditional summer camp experience. Students spend the morning exploring important mathematics concepts in a supportive classroom setting. After lunch, they learn about themselves and others through a youth leadership development program designed for MfA SD Math Camp students by Arc, a nationally recognized after school and experiential education program.

Participating MfA SD Math Camp students:

  • Strengthen their mathematics content knowledge
  • Learn new ways to solve math problems
  • Learn to communicate their thinking with others
  • Receive individual attention from excellent instructors
  • Develop confidence for next year's math class
  • Participate in a complementary high quality, leadership and teambuilding program that promotes goal setting and teamwork and builds self-confidence

What math content will be taught?

MfA SD Math Camp mathematics content focuses on proportional reasoning, a fundamental building block for a solid understanding of algebra, geometry and more advanced mathematics. The teaching focus is on how students think about math problems in order to identify a range of problem-solving strategies as well as misconceptions or sources of confusion.  

The MfA SD Math Camp is a research-based approach to teaching middle and high school math, developed by mathematicians at UC San Diego and elsewhere.  The program supports the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics for algebra and geometry and the eight mathematical practices, and will help prepare students for their next math course.

Who are the math instructors?

Instructors for the MfA SD Math Camp are all excellent math teachers in secondary schools throughout the county.  Each instructor is a fellowship recipient of the prestigious, five-year Math for America San Diego fellowship.  Camps will have three instructors, allowing for small group instruction, individual support, as well as whole group discussion. 

Is this math program appropriate for my child?

The MfA SD Math Camp is appropriate to students from a wide variety of backgrounds who will be entering 6th or 9th grade in the fall. The camps are organized around mathematics problems that can be accessed at many different levels.  However, if your child is more than one grade level behind in mathematics or has excelled well beyond his/her peers, this may not be the best program for your child.  

Why is the program two weeks?

Two weeks provides the minimum amount of time necessary for students to engage deeply in mathematical thinking, and in learning to articulate that reasoning to others. In our two-week pilot program, we saw impressive changes in students’ abilities to talk about their thinking and a marked increase in their ability to solve problems. 

Will this program help prepare my child for next year’s math class?

Yes! This program will help boost their confidence in mathematics and give them a solid foundation for future math classes.  

What curriculum will you be using?

The instructors will not be using a published curriculum. They will be using curriculum that they developed or was developed by Dr. Guershon Harel, Professor of Mathematics, UC San Diego. 

What will they be doing in the three hour class time?

The students will be working problems by themselves or in table groups or they will be presenting their solutions to the other students. They will also play interactive math games. When it is this varied and engaging, the three hours goes by quickly! 

Will the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics be taught?

Yes! The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are the new standards all schools are required to teach. The MfA SD Math Camp instructors are very familiar with the CCSS, and their curriculum aligns with these important standards.