Family Mathematics Program for Grades 7–10

Together with Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth (CTY), the Cornell Mathematics Department and Center for Applied Mathematics will hold an all-day mathematics program for students in grades 7-10 and their parents/caregivers.

Keynote Talk

Professor Jamol Pender (ORIE)
Queues in the Real World.  Queueing theory is also known as Waiting Line Theory. In this talk I will give a brief history of the subject of queueing theory and show how the field has changed over time. Recently, smartphones have enabled customers to know information about how long their wait will be.  I will demonstrate that sometimes this information can be misleading and cause unwanted oscillations in the lines. As examples, we will discuss traffic queues, hospital queues, and queues at Disney World.

Professor Allen Knutson (Department of Mathematics)
The Mathematics of Juggling. In the mid-1980s, three groups of jugglers independently hit upon the same mathematical system for recording, studying, and inventing juggling patterns. I'll explain this system, with much demonstration, and give some indication of how it connects to my day job (of math professor).

Breakout Sessions

Algorithms:  What, Why, and How?
An algorithm is a recipe or a step-by-step formula for completing a task or solving a problem. Algorithms appear in our everyday lives, from the way our phones and computers function to how we do simple tasks like baking a cake. We will introduce the concept of an algorithm and work through examples together, ultimately writing our own algorithms to solve puzzles

It’s a Chaotic Life
From traffic jams to the weather, everyday life can seem pretty chaotic. But is there actually some guiding principle behind these events? In this session we'll explore how scientists connect real-world observations to mathematical models and simulations in order to understand why certain parts of our lives can seem unpredictable. We'll show that some of the simplest systems can exhibit some of the strangest behaviors!

Plane Tilings
When you fit individual tiles together with no gaps or overlaps to fill a flat space like a wall or a floor, you have a tiling. In this session we will explore which shapes we can use for tilings and which do not work. Along the way we will create some beautiful patterns and discover connections to other areas of mathematics.

Intended Audience

Grades 7-10 students and their parents/guardians


Saturday, April 14, 2018
Location: 2nd floor of Malott Hall, Cornell University

Tentative Agenda

9:00–10:00 a.m. Check-in
10:00–10:10 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks
10:10–11:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker #1
11:00–11:10 a.m. Break and transition time
11:10–12:00 p.m. Student and parent breakout session #1
12:00–12:45 p.m. Lunch
12:45–1:35 p.m. Student and parent breakout session #2
1:35–1:45 p.m. Break and transition time
1:45–2:35 p.m. Student and parent breakout session #3
2:35–2:45 p.m. Break and transition time
2:45–3:35 p.m. Keynote speaker #2
3:35-3:50 p.m. Evaluation and concluding remarks
4:00-5:00 p.m. Optional campus tour


The cost is $60 per person. At least one parent/guardian must attend with each student. (E.g., for one student and one parent the cost is $120; for one student and two parents the cost is $180.) Lunch is included in this price.


If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact Dr. Mary Ann Huntley ( as soon as possible.


Registration will begin April 2, 2018.


Contact Dr. Mary Ann Huntley (