Math for Real March Camp will show how to model for zombies

Math is used in more places than most people think and can be a lot more interesting as well, especially when applying it to things like the problem of zombies. Learning how to do modelling for zombies and vampires is just one of the ways high-school students will be inspired at a March Break math camp hosted by York University’s Department of Mathematics & Statistics in the Faculty of Science.

Participants get involved in a wide range of activities at the camp

The Math for Real March Camp: Take Modelling Challenges will take place from March 11 to 13 and is designed to engage students from Grades 9 to 12 in mathematical reasoning, creative problem solving and team work. The goal is to link math modelling with classroom knowledge in mathematics and computer science to solve real, everyday life problems. For students of York University employees with a YU ID, there is a 15 per cent discount on the camp.

“We believe that students benefit greatly if they learn at an early age how exciting and valuable it is to apply mathematics to real-world problems,” said York math Professor Hongmei Zhu.

York math Professor Jane Heffernan talks about the mathematics of werewolves

At the camp, students will get experience in programming, technical writing and team building, and will learn how to master the modelling process applicable to any modelling problem. In addition, the three-day camp will help students gain confidence to join the fourth International Mathematical Modelling Challenge.

Richard Hoshino of Quest University Canada, the 2017 winner of the Canadian Mathematical Society’s Adrien Poulit Award, will help students with computational thinking and programming for modelling at several sessions throughout the week.

Featured lectures

The camp will include talks by Hoshino and York University math Professor Jane Heffernan that will take students to places where they didn’t know math could go. Hoshino will deliver a lecture titled “Four Problem-Solving Strategies for Mathematics and for Life” on Monday, March 11 from 11 a.m. to noon in Room 320, Norman Bethune College, Keele Campus. The talk is open to everyone. A book-signing of his first novel, The Math Olympian, will follow his talk.

In this informal and interactive presentation, Hoshino will present four of his favourite math problems and share stories of how these problems have led to authentic mathematical experiences for both high-school students and undergraduates. As he shares his story through these four problems, they will simultaneously be accessible to high-school students and challenge the math professors in the audience. In the process of solving these questions, four key problem-solving strategies will be uncovered that enable participants to impact others through their lives as mathematicians and educators.

Before joining Quest, Hoshino was a postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo (2010-12) and a mathematician with the Government of Canada (2006-10), leading the mathematics and data exploration section at the Canada Border Services Agency. He has published 27 research papers across numerous fields, including graph theory, marine container risk-scoring, biometric identification and sports scheduling. He has consulted for a billion-dollar professional baseball league as well as three Canadian TV game shows (“Qubit,” “Splatalot” and “Spin-Off”). Hoshino holds a bachelor of math from the University of Waterloo, a BEd from Queen’s University, and an MSc and PhD from Dalhousie University.

Registration is $150 per participant, lunches included. Seats are limited to 20. Students with financial need can apply for a fee waiver.

Visit to register.

The event is sponsored by CAIMS, CMS, Callysto, the Fields Institute of Mathematics, IMMC-Canada Committee, Maplesoft Inc. and York University