Summer Illinois Mathematics Camp

Summer Illinois Mathematics CampSummer 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.

We will offer three camps in 2018. As in the past, SIM Camp Epsilon is for students entering 8th or 9th grade in Fall 2018. SIM Camp Delta is now for students entering 9th or 10th grade. We are also introducing SIM Camp Omega for students entering 10th through 12th grade.

Campers outside

Summer 2018

The camp for rising 8th or 9th grade students will be June 25th to June 29th. Topics will be Counting Pigeons and Other Problem Solving Techniques and Maximize Your Winnings: Using Math to Understand Games.

The camp for rising 9th and 10th grade students will be July 9th to July 13th. Topics will be Counting to Infinity (Plus One!) and Maximize Your Winnings: Using Math to Understand Games.

The camp for rising 10th through 12th grade students will be July 23rd to July 27th. Topics will be Counting to Infinity (Plus One!) and From Snowflakes to Seashells: Exploring Fractals.

Counting Pigeons and Other Problem Solving Techniques

How do we prove that something is impossible? Campers will learn valuable mathematical techniques such as the pigeonhole principle and coloring arguments. We will ask questions (like “can the spider make his way out of this strange cube?”), convince ourselves that the answer is no, and then use our newfound skills to prove it!

Maximize Your Winnings: Using Math to Understand Games

Which games have a winning strategy?  We will play and explore a variety of games involving chance, strategy, social cooperation and anticipating the actions of others. We will use mathematical approaches to help us understand and play games better.  

Counting to Infinity (Plus One!) 

Is infinity a number greater than all other numbers, or is it the size of a set that is larger than all finite sets? Are these two notions the same, and how do we make them mathematically rigorous?  In this course students learn how to show that different infinite sets have different sizes; indeed, some infinities are bigger than others!  Along the way we develop the basic elements of set theory and grapple with notions of orderings on infinite sets and maps between sets.

Snowflakes to Seashells: Exploring Fractals

Can a region have finite area and infinite perimeter? Is there a dimension between one and two? Fractals appear all around us in nature and art and raise many interesting questions like these that challenge our intuition. We will explore these questions and more as we learn about fractals and chaos theory in this course.


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 camps need to have taken at least one year of algebra.

Applications will be available in late February.

Campers working with compass and straightedge


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.

You can find more transportation information here.

About Us

Claire Merriman, director

Emily Heath, program coordinator

Simone Sisneros-Thiry, assistant program coordinator

You can find more information about us here.

If you have questions, please contact


Support is provided by:

Illinois logo    IGL Logo    AWM logo      MAA logoNSF logo

Please consider donating to the Mathematics Department of Mathematics Outreach fund, which supports our Summer Illinois Math camp and other outreach initiatives. Your support helps our department fulfill Illinois’s land grant mission.

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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