# Program Spotlight:

Math Question Center## About the Question Center

**THIS MONTH’S ACTIVATOR:**

**Background:** When any coin is tossed it will come up either Heads or Tails, and it is impossible to predict the outcome with certainty. If the coin is fair then the probability of coming up Heads or Tails is the same, namely 50%. If the coin is not fair then the coin is more likely to come up either Heads or Tails (the coin is said to be biased in this case).

**Statement of the problem:** Two people are going to play a game of chess, and they need to randomly choose which one will start. The choice must be completely fair and unbiased. They have a coin that can be tossed but they don’t know whether it is fair or biased. They want to ‘generate’ a choice which is guaranteed to be completely fair, so that each player has a 50% chance of starting. How can they do this using the one coin that is available?

##### HINT

It’s clear that the players cannot get a 50-50 result by tossing the coin once, since they don’t know whether or not the coin is fair. So the method must involve tossing the coin more than once.

Implemented in 2020 to support students throughout the academic year, the Math Question Center is an open-door program at Northeastern that gives students opportunities to ask questions, network, and solve problems together.

Many Bridge to Calculus summer program students requested to continue the Math Question Center all year. This is how the Bob Case Academy Math Question Center, sponsored by Northeastern’s mathematics department, came to fruition. The Math Question Center operates year round and meets twice a week in the evenings to help students with math homework, as well as with college readiness inquiries. Students enjoy the opportunity to work with others and tackle interesting problems. Each session begins with a math-related question to foster community and to get both students and mentors thinking critically.

Following this activator, students and mentors pair up and work in small groups or one-on-one to complete homework or address college readiness concerns. The group of mentors at the Math Question Center is vast, including BtC alumni who are now in college, other college undergraduate and graduate students, faculty from Northeastern’s math department, and community volunteers. The Math Question Center is a place where students and mentors alike are welcomed, help one another learn and grow, and feel a sense of community.

##### TESTIMONIALS

## Hear from our students and mentors

**A space for support**

From elementary school to middle school to high school, math has always been my favorite subject. I still remember when I was in the second grade, I would wake for my father to come home to work through problems with me, but as the concepts got harder and the language barrier gaps got bigger, I could not continue to explore the wonders of math with him. Now, I have this center here where I have an extraordinary mentor that works with me to make more and more “aha” moments. Math is cultivated from working problems with others and building off one another. The journey never stops, and the math center has an important place for me. Without out this place, I really would not know what to do this senior year.

The Question Center is a place to ask questions and to get help with anything relating to math. It is a place to also connect with students that are also eager to learn math.

**Question center**

To me the question center is not only a place where I get help with my math but also a place where I got the courage to take higher level math classes.

**It’s great 🙂**

The question center means a lot to me since I learn a lot with my math buddy and with the other people who attend, I like the question center a lot because the members are very friendly and funny, I really like the way they teach me something I don’t know, the question center is great 🙂

**High expectations**

I strongly believe that most people rise to the expectations set for them when also provided with support, all of which can be found in BtC and QC.

**A safe space fo ask questions**

A community where we help each other succeed and celebrate each other’s accomplishments 🙂

**The world as we would like it to be… **

The Question Center is a community of learners where teachers and students learn from each other. It gives us the ability to form a world as we want it to be.

**TA community of learners **

Question Center is a place where you can ask questions and get all the support you could possibly need. You get to meet a lot of new people and everyone is always more than willing to help. As a student, I’m constantly being challenged, and am always encouraged to think more deeply. More than that, it’s a community of people who love to learn, and overall an amazing program that I am very fortunate to be a part of.

**I’ve learned a lot**

Question center is a place where you leave saying “I learned a lot.”

**Muy bueno el programa!**

**Digging in**

QC is a place where we ‘dig in’ to math topics that we only touch on in class!

**The Question Center**

Question center is where I can get tutoring, and network with different people.