What is SIM Camp?

Summer Illinois Math (SIM) Camp is a free, week-long math day camp for middle and high school students hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Mathematics. Campers will see the creative, discovery driven side of mathematics. By showing them some of the ways mathematicians approach problems, SIM Camp hopes to encourage them to continue studying math beyond the high school level.

SIM Camp Epsilon

SIM Camp Epsilon is for rising 8th or 9th grade students who will begin geometry or algebra in the fall. It will take place July 18th -22nd, 2016.

Not your childhood tic-tac-toe: Low dimensional topology and games

Students will explore possible shapes of a two dimensional universe, with a strong focus on the topology of the torus, sphere, and Klein bottle. We will play connect four on a cylinder, tic-tac-toe on the torus, and tag with the non-oriented Klein bottle. Students will discover the theory of games, asking questions like “how many first moves are there in torus tic-tac-toe?” or “does the ‘it’ player have an unfair advantage in Klein bottle tag?”

Making and breaking codes: Cryptography

Students will learn how to write and read secret messages using modular arithmetic or “clock math” and the Vigenère square algorithm. We will practice sending each other messages with each method, as well as answer questions like “how can you read a message without knowing the code?” and “how can you share a code without other people being able to read the message?”

SIM Camp Delta

SIM Camp Delta is for rising 9th through 12th grade students who have taken at least a year of algebra. It will take place July 25th -29th, 2016

When a straight line curves: The geometries of space

Students will explore questions such as, “What happens when the angles of a triangle no longer sum to 180 degrees?” or “what does it mean to be a straight line?” Students will imagine living in hyperbolic or spherical space, discovering for themselves the challenges presented by these unfamiliar geometries. By the end of the week, we will understand tilings and students will create their own hyperbolic and spherical art to take home.

Mathematical Biology

From diseases to biological networks, we can use mathematics to create “models” to describe how systems behave over time. Mathematical Biology focuses on translating “real life” problems into mathematical structures we can analyze. Students will explore questions such as “How can you construct a model?”, “What makes a model accurate?” and “Can we apply it to different situations?” We will provide an overview of common types of models used in disciplines such as biology and social sciences. Students will learn how to represent and analyze these using equations, graphs, and computer software.

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There will be two weeks of SIM Camp in 2016.

The camp for rising 8th or 9th grade students will be July 18th to July 22nd.

The camp for rising 9th through 12th grade students will be July 25th to July 29th.


SIM Camp will be held in Altgeld Hall on the University of Illinois Campus at the corner of Wright Street and Green Street in Urbana.


Students attending the rising 8th and 9th grade camp must have taken a pre-algebra class, while students at the rising 9th through 12th grade camp need to have taken at least one year of algebra.

Applications are due May 15. Admissions decisions will be made after that date.

We are not accepting late applications.

About Us

Claire Merriman, director

Michelle Delcourt, assistant director

Melinda Lanius, assistant director

Simone Sisneros-Thiry, program coordinator

If you have questions, please contact simcamp@math.uiuc.edu.


Support is provided by:

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DMS-1449269.

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