Students Prepare for Success in Mathematics

Students in Preparing for Algebra 1 Class

June and July brought middle and high school students to the Rice University campus to attend courses in mathematics offered by the Rice University School Mathematics Project.

Students came from across Texas eager to prepare for the upcoming school year’s math courses: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and AP Calculus and International Baccalaureate mathematics courses.

Students from all over Texas came to Rice during the summer
Formula for Success: Students from all over Texas came to Rice during the summer to prepare for their math courses for the upcoming year.

RUSMP Director Anne Papakonstantinou ’69 and Richard Parr ’85 facilitated the popular calculus course, which they have offered for almost a decade. The content of the three-week RUSMP calculus course focused on introductory calculus topics, including limits, continuity, differentiability and applications of the derivative, with an emphasis on mathematical communication, proof and justification, and real-world applications.

Precalculus topics were reviewed and reinforced through the lens of calculus. Papakonstantinou and Parr also talked about preparing for university admission, studies in STEM and seeking financial aid.

Rice alumna Gail Hamilton ’74 and Sandra Wallace facilitated the two-week geometry course focused on strengthening students’ algebra I skills, as well as geometry explorations, problem-solving strategies, and other content and skills that students will need for the study of geometry in the fall. Students reviewed the slope of lines, solved linear equations and created amazing fractals à la Sierpinski and Koch. The students also had the opportunity to explore mathematics on the Rice University campus.

Joanna Papakonstantinou ’92 and Pei How Chin ’85, both Rice alumni and former students of the program, facilitated the courses Preparing for Success in Algebra I and Preparing for Success in Algebra II. These two two-week courses focused on the important content for success in algebra I and algebra II.

Algebra I activities included work with integers, including integer operations, order of operations, the Pythagorean theorem, the Spiral of Theodorus and linear functions. Algebra II students reviewed factoring polynomials, explored function families and their transformations and solved systems of linear equations. Both courses stressed collaboration through problem-solving activities.

In all the courses, students engaged in rich learning activities, used visualization technology and explored challenging problems. They left energized, well-prepared and eager to tackle their academic-year courses.

Each summer, RUSMP also offers math camps for students entering grades 1–8 at Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School and Annunciation Orthodox School. To learn more about all the opportunities for students for summer 2024, please visit the RUSMP website at

— Anne Papakonstantinou
RUSMP Director


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