Summer Oshkosh Mathematics Academy
SOMA | August 2021

Covid-19 Response Update

Our Summer 2020 SOMA has been cancelled due to University and State guidelines for public events and gatherings for this August. All registration fees will be refunded.

The Summer Oshkosh Mathematics Academy (SOMA), a four-day commuter camp for students entering grades 6-8, will be held again at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in August 2021.


– Academy Description

– Program Fees

– How to Register

SOMA features student exploration and a creative problem-solving approach to mathematics. Participants will see aspects of mathematics and topics that are not typically part of the middle grades curriculum, and our activities will help middle schoolers develop mathematical habits of mind by actually doing mathematics, that is, investigating, experimenting, posing questions, modeling problems, conjecturing, justifying solutions and critiquing the reasoning of others.

Sessions are led by award-winning UW Oshkosh mathematics professors and math education students. Our aim is to challenge camp participants while exploring the beauty of mathematics, and to provide opportunities to for them to experience mathematics as a creative art. It is our hope that this will encourage them to further their mathematical studies in school, college, and beyond.

Academy Description

A typical day at SOMA includes:

  • Mini-courses in math featuring in-depth exploration and problem solving
  • Outdoor mathematical activities
  • Lunch at our student cafeteria
  • Math puzzles and games

Mini-courses are longer sessions (2 hours each day) that run the length of the four-day academy. For mini-courses, participants will be broken into two groups of 15-18 students each for greater personal attention. Courses 1 and 2 will be taught concurrently to different groups, and then the groups will switch. Our preliminary plan for the 2020 academy is to feature the following two mini-courses for all participants (subject to change, we will finalize the program in May):

What are the Odds? Topics for exploration and discussion include probability fallacies and paradoxes, simulation and probabilistic analyses of games of chance (such as Plinko and dice games), expected value including the St. Petersburg paradox and analysis of lotteries and casino games. Applications of probability to forensic science and medicine will be investigated, such as investigating the efficacy of testing for rare genetic diseases based on the reported reliability of the test and the incidence rate of the disease.

How many ways? We will investigate the classic problem to determine the number of handshakes that take place in a group of size n, and evaluate Chipotle’s claim that they offer 65,000 menu combinations. Through our work in solving problems like these, we will establish elementary counting principles (inclusion/exclusion, permutations, and combinations) that we can build on to apply to a wide array of situations, including to help analyze some of games of chance in conjunction with the “What are the Odds?” mini-course.

Morning and Afternoon Activities are shorter self-contained sessions (1/2 hour or 1 hour) on varying topics such as demonstrations of mathematical card tricks, Informational sessions on careers in mathematics, and outdoor activities, such as a logic mazes and scavenger hunts.

Lunch at Blackhawk Commons. The UW Oshkosh student cafeteria has plenty of all you-care-to-eat choices, including classics, grill, noodles, pizza and deli, soup and salad, bread, beverage and dessert stations. Lunch is included in your registration fee.

Math Exploration Center. We will end each day with time to explore and play in our “Math Exploration Center” with a variety of interactive mathematical demonstrations, puzzles, and games. This will be unstructured time for participants to explore mathematics puzzles and games together with our undergraduate teaching assistants. You can play mathematical games such as Sprouts, Hex, and SET; solve wooden puzzles such as SOMA cubes, Pentaminos, and the Tower of Hanoi, and build logic circuits out of dominos, and investigate our marble computer.

Approximate Daily Schedule

8:20-8:30        Arrival

8:30-9:00        Morning Activity

9:10-11:20       Mini-Course 1

11:30-12:00     Lunch

12:20-11:20     Afternoon Activity

1:30-3:40        Mini-Course 2

3:50-4:30       Math Exploration Center

4:30-4:40       Departure

Students are supervised by college student TAs through the duration of the academy. Academy participants and TAs sit together during meals in Blackhawk Commons. Instruction takes place in Swart Hall.

Program Fees:

Your registration fee covers all instruction and materials, SOMA T-shirt, and lunch each day.

Choose a registration fee that fits your budget

The UW Oshkosh Math Department wants the SOMA camp experience to be available to everyone. We have a voluntary three-tiered pricing system, allowing you to choose the price that works best for you. Naming your price requires no paperwork and in no way influences the experience your child will receive at camp. There are three tiers: Price A: $360, Price B: $240 and Price C: $120. Simply choose the fee that is appropriate for your family.

The true per-student cost for the camp, including the cost of providing instruction, lunch and camp activities, is about $400 per student.  Due to the generosity of our sponsors, this cost is reduced for all campers. Note: The registration fee is non-refundable at all price levels.

  • Price A ($360) reflects the full cost of the camp that is not already covered by UW Oshkosh. If you can afford this level, this would help us to make this math camp available to a family that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford this opportunity for their child.
  • Price B ($240) reflects the partially subsidized rate that we can offer thanks to our sponsors and donors.
  • Price C ($120) is for families needing a more heavily subsidized rate and does not reflect the true cost of operating this program.

We are able to offer subsidized rates thanks to a Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant through the Mathematical Association of America.

A limited number of additional full scholarships may be available thanks to our donors. Participants who need a full scholarship should fill out this separate scholarship application form prior to registering online. Scholarship applications should be mailed to the address on the form, or scanned and emailed to Applicants will be notified by email of their scholarship, which would then be applied as a discount code on the online registration.

Register your Child for SOMA

Registration is is through UW Oshkosh’s eSTORE. Registration will remain open until the academy is full. Space will be limited to 36 participants.

Step 1. Register and Pay the registration fee online through UW Oshkosh’s eStore.

This year we are using the new UW Oshkosh eStore, a secure online point-of-sale that UW Oshkosh uses for online registrations and payments.

  1. Go to our UW Oshkosh eStore page.
  2. The screen will look like the image above. At the bottom of the page there is one “product” called SOMA Registration. Click on SOMA logo or the “Add to Cart” button at the bottom left.
  3. On the next screen: Choose your Registration Fee (“Product Price”. Then enter the registration information for the child you are registering. At the bottom you should see the registration fee you selected. Click the “Add to Cart” button. (Leave the quantity at 1. You will have the opportunity later to add another child later if you wish.) A green banner will briefly appear at the top of the page indicating that the product has been added to the shopping cart. Click on where it says “shopping cart” on this banner, or if the banner has disappeared, on the “shopping cart” logo at the top right of the page.
  4. On the next screen, you will see your shopping cart so far, with a summary of the information you entered. If you need to make changes to this information, you can click the gold “edit” link that appears after your information that will take you back to the page. If you would like to register another child, click “Continue Shopping” which will take you back to the product page where you can repeat the steps for the other child, which will then be added as a separate order in the shopping cart.
  5. Once everything is correct in the shopping cart, check the box to say you agree to the terms of service, then click the “Checkout” button to pay for your registration(s).
  6. On the first checkout page, you can choose to check out as a guest, or choose to register. Either way, you need to enter the same billing information, the only difference is that if you choose to register, you also create a password that you can later access your account to see your order history, and save your information for next year.
  7. After you have entered your billing information, click  “Credit Card” as your payment method on the checkout page, and then click on “Add Credit Card Details”. A secure pop-up window will appear for you to enter your credit card information, and then click “next”. If your card information is accepted, the pop-up window will close and the payment information will be added to the Checkout page.
  8. At this point, you can still make changes to your Billing Information or edit your shopping cart, if necessary. To complete your order, click the “Confirm” button on the bottom right of the Checkout page.

Step 2: Submit you child’s Waiver Form and Health Information Form.

In order for your child to participate in this on-campus event, UW Oshkosh policy requires that you submit a Waiver Form and a Health Information Form.

  1. Download, print, fill out and sign the 2020 SOMA Waiver Form.
  2. Download, fill out, print and sign the 2020 SOMA Health Information Form.
  3. Bring these completed forms to the sign-in desk on the first day of the camp.

We hope to see you in August!


Department Office
Swart Hall, Room 115
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Department of Mathematics
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901


(920) 424-1333
(920) 424-1812
Developmental Math Lab
Faculty and Staff