ARCADIA, Calif. -- A high school junior created and leads a free district-wide after-school program for students in elementary and middle school that encourages kids’ love for math.
Arcadia High School student Aditee Prabhutendolkar started Math Circle at Arcadia Unified nearly three years ago after joining a similar program at the University of California Los Angeles. Having grown up loving math, she devised a way to bring the program to younger kids in her district.
For an hour each week, she’s at the board teaching everything from division to factorials.
“I think it’s really great to see young students get interested in math,” Prabhutendolkar said.
She started teaching just one class at her old elementary school. Now, she has a team of seven fellow high school students who teach students at nearly every elementary and middle school in the district.
One problem she’d like to solve is the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. Part of her focus is on fostering girls’ love of numbers.
Aditee wants more girls to feel confident at the board, to reduce the gender divide and add more students to the circle.
“I think Math Circle can help because a lot of young girls in elementary and middle school learn that they love math through this program and that way they can be encouraged to seek careers in math,” said Prabhutendolkar, who has plans to become a neurosurgeon.
There are currently six math circles at district schools, and Prabhutendolkar plans to expand to every school in the district.