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BMC Elementary

We had the exciting idea to launch a new math circle group for kids of elementary school age in the fall of 2009. The target age of this group was grades 1-3. The main objective of this group was to develop a positive attitude towards mathematics by introducing young children to the elements of mathematical culture.
The program received a warm response from the students and their parents. BMC Elementary program is now in its fourth year. The number of the participants has grown, and now there are two levels:
  • BMC Elementary I, grades 1 and 2
  • BMC Elementary II, grades 3 and 4
The meetings are full of hands-on activities, games, and short problems, which will hopefully establish the positive image of mathematics in the minds of the participants.


Fall 2015 enrollment is now closed.

In the Fall 2015, BMC Elementary classes will be held on Tuesdays. The start date is September 8th, 2015. .

  • BMC Elementary I (grades 1 and 2)

    Class I A will meet in room 891, Evans Hall, from 5:10 PM to 6:00 PM, instructor Laura Givental

    Class I B will meet in room 320, Soda Hall, from 5:10 PM to 6:00 PM, instructor Ira Kloumova

    Class I C will meet in room 939, Evans Hall, from 6:30 PM to 7:20 PM, instructor Ilya Zakharevich

  • BMC Elementary II (grades 3 and 4)

    Class II A will meet in room 736, Evans Hall, from 5:05 PM to 5:55 PM, instructor Ilya Zakharevich / Elena Blanter

    Class II B will meet in room 891, Evans Hall, from 6:10 PM to 7:00 PM, instructor Laura Givental

    Class II C will meet in room 320, Soda Hall, from 6:10 PM to 7:00 PM, instructor Ira Kloumova

    Class II D will meet in room 891, Evans Hall, from 7:10 PM to 8:00 PM, instructor Laura Givental

    Class II E will meet in room 320, Soda Hall, from 7:10 PM to 8:00 PM, instructor Ira Kloumova

    Class II F will meet in room 939, Evans Hall, from 7:25 PM to 8:15 PM, instructor Ilya Zakharevich

The class dates for the Fall 2015 are:

September: 8, 15, 22, 29
October: 6, 13, 20, 27
November: 3, 10, 17, 24
December: 1, 8, 15
The class dates for the Spring 2016 are:

January: 12, 19, 26
February: 2, 9, 16, 23
March: 1, 8
April: 5, 12, 19, 26
May: 3, 10

To the BMC Elementary Parents:

Thank you for your interest in the BMC Elementary.

BMC Elementary is for students in grades 1-4. If you have an older child, 5th grade or above, please apply to BMC Upper by clicking "Apply for BMC" button on the left.

If you are new to BMC Elementary, and are interested in placing your child on our waiting list, please follow the enrollment instructions in New Student Application form. We do not have a deadline for New Student Application and accept applications year around. Once we receive your complete application, your child will be placed on our wait list. Students, accepted to BMC Elementary for Spring 2016 session, will receive a "Welcome" email at the beginning of January. Students not accepted for Spring 2016 will remain on our waiting list for the fall 2016 semester. We sometimes have a few openings in the middle of a semester. We will contact students from our waiting list at that time.

Acceptance to the program is based on merit and the time of the application, so please be detailed and specific when filling the forms.

If you are a continuing BMC Elementary student, the deadline for the re-enrollment for the Spring 2016 semester is December 8th, 2015. We will send an announcement to all continuing students in the middle of November 2015.

Please check our website periodically for the updates.


A local resident of the East Bay, Laura Givental (bmc.elementary@gmail.com) joined Natalia Rozhkovskaya to teach the BMC Elementary in the Fall semester of 2009. After graduating from a math and physics high school, Laura obtained her B.A. and Masters Degrees in applied mathematics at the Moscow school of "Kerosinka". She has been working, first in Russia and then in the US, as a software engineer and consultant. Her son Emile, currently a fifth-grader, first visited BMC in 1998 prenatally, and now feels ready to attend the middle school chapter of it on his own. Educating Emile has been challenging and rewarding for Laura, and she brought this unique expertise to BMC Elementary.
Ilya Zakharevich (ilya@math.berkeley.edu) teaches on and off from 1981. He received his PhD in mathematics 1990 in Moscow. He moved to US in 1990 and to Berkeley in 2001. His research interests in mathematics are integrable systems and analysis.
Elena Pavlovskaia (BMC.Elementary.Elena@gmail.com) studied at Moscow Math Circle and later she taught other kids there. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in Moscow and since then she has been developing Geometry Modeling software. Elena loves Mathematics and wants to share her excitement with BMC students.

Former Instructors

Elena Blanter (elena.blanter@gmail.com), a Berkeley resident, received her M.A. in Mathematics from the St. Petersburg University in Russia and has teaching credentials from the same school. Elena's many years of experience span mathematical risk modeling, statistical analysis, and development of financial analytical software. In addition, Elena privately teaches mathematics to elementary school children and Math Magic after school enrichment program in Berkeley and Orinda schools. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring her experience and passions to the BMC Elementary.

Sergei Ovchinnikov (sergei@sfsu.edu) is a Professor of Mathematics at San Francisco State University. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Moscow University in 1971. After having held various research and teaching positions in the former Soviet Union, Sergei immigrated to the United States in 1980. He was a Research Associate at the Computer Science Department, UC Berkeley, from June 1980 until September 1981 when he joined the Mathematics Department of SFSU. Sergei has been pursuing research in functional analysis and mathematical social sciences since 1966. His current research interests are in the area of applied discrete mathematics.

Natalia Rozhkovskaya (rozhkovs@math.ksu.edu) is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Kansas State University - Manhattan. Her primary research interests are representation theory of Lie groups, Lie algebras and quantum groups. In her hometown she had organized a small math circle for first-grade students, who enjoyed this experience a lot. In fall 2009 Natalia participated in the program in Tropical Geometry at MSRI. While visiting Berkeley for few months, she offered her experience and enthusiasm to create a chapter of math circle for little ones.
Dave Auckly (auckly@msri.org) earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and then held a postdoctorial position at UT Austin followed by an NSF postdoc at UC Berkeley. He then moved to Kansas State University before taking the Associate Director position at MSRI. His research interests cover a broad range of geometry/topology and overlap with PDE, mathematical physics and algebraic geometry. He lights up like the Vegas strip when he talks about mathematics. Dave has directed around 30 undergraduate and graduate level research projects and he has been recognized with several teaching awards. In addition to mathematics, Dave enjoys being silly with his wife and two little children. He also enjoys any time that he can spend in the mountains.
Vera Serganova (serganov@math.berkeley.edu) is a Professor of Mathematics at UC Berkeley. She got her PhD in Russia from St. Petersburg University in 1988. Vera moved to US in 1990 and to Berkeley in 1992. Her research interests are in representation theory and algebraic geometry. Vera teaches high and middle school students at Berkeley Math Circle from 1998.

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