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About AoPS Academy

History & Philosophy

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Art of Problem Solving textbooks have been used by outstanding students since 1993. The AoPS website launched in 2003, and its online community now has over 480,000 members. Many of the winners of each year's International Math Olympiad use the AoPS site as a primary training resource. The AoPS Online school has over 20,000 enrollments annually in courses specifically designed for high-performing math students. Most of the winners of major American national math competitions are AoPS alumni, and thousands of our alumni enroll in top universities each year.

With AoPS Academy, Art of Problem Solving brings its curriculum and pedagogical techniques to the classroom.

AoPS Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Focus on Challenging Problems

A generation ago, there were many intellectual careers that required repeatedly solving routine problems. Most of those jobs are performed by computers now. Successful people in the next generation will need to develop new skills throughout their careers as their older skills become obsolete. Therefore, we go well beyond the basics in our classes, providing students a deep and rigorous curriculum while training students how to tackle difficult problems that are not replicas of problems they've already seen. This teaches students how to learn, so they'll be ready for the challenges of top-tier colleges and internationally competitive careers.

Active Learning

Students best learn how to solve hard problems by tackling the problems themselves, not by watching passively as others do the work. In our classrooms, students solve each problem, with instructors asking motivating questions as guidance. Only after the students have solved a problem does the instructor provide direct commentary that reinforces key insights.

Outstanding Peer Group

AoPS Academy draws strong students from many schools, giving AoPS students an outstanding peer group with whom they can learn, form friendships, and draw inspiration. Each year, the AoPS network has many students earn admission to highly selective colleges like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. Their work in AoPS classes helps prepare them for the competitive, challenging environment they'll find in these schools.

Communication Skills

Collaborative efforts have become crucial in most professional environments, so AoPS is expanding to language arts instruction through AoPS Academy. We extend this emphasis on communication to our math and science classes, in which students learn how to express their advanced mathematical ideas and scientific understanding clearly and rigorously.

Courses Overview

During the school year classes meet weekly, bringing together small groups of high-performing students to work with outstanding instructors. Our summer courses keep students sharp for the upcoming school year.

The AoPS Academy curriculum is carefully designed to prepare students for the rigors of advanced university classes and highly competitive careers. We stress both the fundamentals and extending those fundamentals to advanced applications in all of our math, science, and language arts classes. Students develop a deep understanding of new concepts, and learn how to use them in complex situations.

AoPS Academy instructors are chosen based both on proven domain expertise as well as their pedagogical skills. Many of our instructors have advanced degrees, and our curriculum is designed by experts in their fields.

Mathematics Courses

Our math curriculum is centered on students solving problems. Rather than spoon-feed students material for them to echo, we guide them through the experience of developing new mathematical ideas. Our focus on rigor provides a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, while our approach to creative problem-solving trains students to handle novel mathematical and scientific situations. Graduates of our math program will be well-prepared to continue their math-related studies at outstanding universities, and be equipped for a rapidly-shifting professional landscape. Each class session includes:

  • Extensions of past topics: Students solve challenging problems based on the previous week’s material, both to review recent topics and to hone their problem-solving abilities.
  • Introduction of new fundamentals: Students explore a series of problems to add new strategies and tools to their toolboxes.
  • Challenging problems: Students reinforce their understanding of their new tools by applying them to more difficult problems, some of which are drawn from major national and international contests.
  • Collaborative problem-solving: Occasionally groups of students work together on particularly challenging problems, with successful groups presenting their solutions to the class.

AoPS Academy classes aren't confined to the classroom. Our classes employ many of the online resources that have been cornerstones of the AoPS online school for over a decade. Our Academic Year math courses include the following support material outside the classroom:

  • Weekly homework: Students have a weekly homework set including problems with a wide range of difficulty. Students receive instant feedback on the accuracy of their work, and have access to detailed solutions after finishing each problem.
  • Weekly reminder emails: Students and parents receive weekly emails detailing the students' progress and upcoming due dates.
  • Thorough reporting: Students and parents can view detailed reports regarding students' performance.
  • Class outlines: Students can access class outlines online. Outlines are linked to reading material, so students can review past classes, prepare for future classes, and catch up when they miss classes.
  • AoPS textbooks: All students receive AoPS textbooks and have assigned reading each week in support of the weekly lesson.

Science Courses

Our first physics class is for students who have a good understanding of Algebra 1 and want to learn more about the world around them. Our growing science program is designed to teach students to ask questions about the physical world and to design experimental frameworks to answer those questions. We use a hands-on approach to teach scientific thinking and prepare students for future study of many types of science.

Language Arts Courses

Our core language arts classes in grades 2-12 teach students both the craft and art of effective communication. Instruction focuses on multiple components of writing, building from the fundamentals to give students a deep appreciation of language. Graduates of our language arts program will be fluent writers and excellent critical readers. They'll develop these skills by starting from words, progressing to sentences, and then organizing these sentences into well-constructed paragraphs, essays, and stories.

Class sessions include instruction in three broad areas:

  • Vocabulary: Expressing oneself and understanding intricate writing starts with a mastery of the basic building blocks of language: words. Our study of vocabulary extends far beyond simply memorizing definitions. We emphasize the stems, origins, and other tools to help students develop a rich palette from which they can choose the right word at the right time.
  • Grammar: Our students learn grammar by studying passages from classic literature and other primary sources, through which they learn how to comprehend complex passages. They then learn how to apply this understanding to their own writing to produce well-structured, effective prose.
  • Writing: All of our core language arts instruction targets students' writing skills. Our students write, analyze, edit, and then write some more. Rewriting is at the heart of excellent writing, so many of our writing assignments are spread over several weeks, with students revisiting and refining their own work based on instructor feedback and in-class discussion of their work.

Summer Courses

Summer learning loss is a well-documented educational concern, with students regularly losing proficiency in math and reading during their idle summer months. AoPS Academy offers summer classes in math and language arts to keep students sharp and get them prepared for the upcoming school year. Our math and language arts summer programs include a variety of two-week camps featuring activity-based learning designed to pique students’ curiosity and keep them engaged.

Our summer Math Beasts camps extend topics that students learned in the past year and allow students to explore new areas of math. Each camp features Problem Solving and Mathematical Exploration:

  • Problem Solving: In Problem Solving, students review a key topic from the previous year and then explore that topic further, pushing their understanding well beyond grade level. Students engage with Problem Solving through math-related games and puzzles, challenging activities that call for group collaboration, and intriguing problems that encourage students to think in novel ways as they apply new skills.
  • Mathematical Exploration: Through our Mathematical Explorations, students encounter new topics that are typically not introduced until much later in their schooling, and mathematical strategies they can apply throughout their education. This year, our camps will take on a variety of topics including spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, working backwards, invariance, graph theory, and cryptography.

Our Middle School Math Contests and High School Math Contests camps are excellent fits for students seeking to prepare for contests like MATHCOUNTS and the American Mathematics Competitions–or for students who simply want an extra challenge over the summer. In these camps, students are introduced to important new topics while reviewing and applying concepts they have already encountered to advanced problems. Students also participate in practice individual and team competitions, gaining both mathematical skills and test-taking experience that will prepare them for key events in the upcoming school year.

Our writing camps provide a venue for students to hone their writing and critical thinking skills over the summer. In Creative Writing for Grades 3-4, students learn the craft of fiction while composing their own short stories and poems alongside their classmates. Classes feature a mix of interactive writing activities and engaging lessons in the elements of storytelling and poetry. Our Academic Essay Writing for Grades 8-10 camp introduces students to the craft of essay writing at a college level. In addition to teaching students how to plan and write an academic essay, the camp explores the purpose behind such essays, examining their role both in academic settings and in the real world. By thinking critically about academic writing as an intellectual pursuit, students become not just better writers but deeper thinkers.

Our reading and performance camps help students develop critical reading and thinking skills while polishing their presentation skills. Readers Theater for Grades 4-5 guides students through a challenging novel while training students to write, rehearse, and perform their own plays. Poetry and Analysis for Grades 6-7 explores the power of the carefully-chosen word and an expansive vocabulary, as students dissect great poems to learn how to write and perform their own. Students in Mock Trial: Persuasive Speaking for Grades 7-8 explore a Newbery Honor Book by acclaimed children's author Avi, and then prepare for a mock civil case based on events in the book. Through their preparations, they learn the arts of clear and concise writing, argumentation, and public speaking.

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