K-12 students get a taste of nitrogen in their ice cream during Math Circle

Professor Elizabeth Behrman demonstrates what happens when you pour liquid nitrogen on a balloon to K-12 students involved in Math Circle. Math Circle was a group that met up on Sundays to help instill the love of math and math-related subjects in younger generations.

With a bit of heavy cream, milk, strawberry puree and liquid nitrogen, professor Elizabeth Behrman concocted strawberry ice cream for K-12 students in the community.

“I love teaching,” Behrman said. “There’s something to cherish about every age. I love this group of middle school kids … They had all kinds of crazy ideas, and that’s marvelous.”

Behrman has taught younger students a few times. Her energy and enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches are apparent to any on-lookers.

“She’s a little strange,” Reid Chapman, a seventh grader at Eisenhower Middle School, said. “Then again, all teachers are strange and so are students.”

Behrman’s lecture is the first hosted by Wichita State’s Math Circle for this school year. She taught students about states of matter.

Math Circle brings students together to teach math and math-related concepts to younger generations in the hope of instilling a life-long love of the subjects. Tinka Davis sits on the committee for Math Circle along with Xialong Li, Rachel Heckman and Bill Ingle. 

“We don’t take attendance. We don’t give them a test,” Davis said. “Normally, it’s more math, and students write.”

Many universities and institutions have similar programs to Math Circle. What makes WSU unique is the cost.

“Most of the other (schools) that I know of charge tuition, and there’s a waiting list so it’s very competitive,” Davis said. “We offer it for free.”