K-8 EXCELLENCE SINCE 1973
2027 7th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 (map) • 510‑845‑0876

Math, Science & Innovation

At our school, it's cool to like math and science.

math partners, 3rd grade

Mathematics

At Black Pine Circle, learning math is both challenging and fun. The elementary and middle school years are essential for building math literacy and proficiency, while maintaining enthusiasm for mathematical thinking. Your child’s math abilities will be understood and nurtured, whatever level they are starting from. Students who excel in math are inspired to grow. Students who need extra support are coached toward deeper understanding.

Math Faculty

Our school has been fortunate to have had an outstanding math faculty since its inception. Your child’s math teacher will be familiar with their learning profile, screen them for challenges, guide them to draw on their strengths, and keep them at their learning edge. Our lower and upper school math specialists also work with classroom teachers to differentiate, plan curriculum, evaluate student progress, and provide additional scaffolding for those who need it.

Anatoliy Gulimovskiy

Seventh and Eighth Grade Math Teacher

Played soccer on a Zambian teacher team

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Carwai Seto

Carwai Seto

Seventh and Eighth Grade Math Teacher, Eighth Grade Dean of Students

Loves to travel

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Megan Hubbard

Sixth Grade Math Teacher, Outdoor Education Director, and Sixth Grade Dean of Students

Zamboni driver

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Natasha Vdovychenko

Nataliya Vdovychenko

Upper School Assistant

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Stephanie Somersille

Stephanie Somersille

Upper School Math Specialist

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Vera Balarin

Vera Balarin

Lower School Math Specialist

Summers on a small Croatian isle

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Zina Gulimovskaya

7th and 8th Grade Math Assistant

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Why are our students so good at math?

The discipline and attention to detail it takes to learn a musical instrument provide excellent preparation for the practice of building strong math skills. The link between the physical practice of music and strong mathematical abilities has been demonstrated in studies that show that children who play a musical instrument can perform more complex arithmetical operations than those who do not play an instrument. At our school, it’s not uncommon for the star of our volleyball team to excel on the Math Team....and be a wizard on saxophone.

Mr. G presents math awards

Math Team and Math Clubs

After school, students in 5th-8th grade can join one of our three Math Clubs to pursue their passion for solving high-level math problems. Our Math Teams compete in a number of Bay Area competitions annually, and some of our students participate in the Berkeley Math Circle, as well as other local math organizations. Other students simply looking for a challenge enjoy extra problems in addition to regular math homework assignments.

awards-MAA2
Gold Level status for the last 9 years
Gold Level status for the last 9 years
Award for excellence<br> in Math Instruction
Award for excellence
in Math Instruction
Champions for 15 years straight
Champions for 15 years straight

Science

Design thinking, computational tinkering, maker education, deep inquiry, and sharing our work with the wider community

experiment

Exploring Science Everywhere

We believe science is not about memorizing big words. Instead, we nurture students’ natural curiosity, challenging them to make careful observations, to ask thoughtful questions, and to make connections in their world. Every BPC student participates in hands-on science weekly - facilitated by our lower school science specialist or our upper school science faculty. We prioritize deeper investigation rather than attempting to cover ever more content.

Student investigations take many forms, whether hatching birds, analyzing local sampled water, running simulations that track the spread of a hypothetical infectious disease, or developing their own testable questions for our non-competitive science fair. From nearby Aquatic Park and Strawberry Creek to our school garden and chicken coop, BPC students learn science everywhere.

We've Embraced Next Gen Science Standards

Building on the National Research Council’s K-12 Framework for Science Education. twenty-six State Partners worked with the National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and identified these practices (at right) as essential for science education.

Six Essential Practices for Science Education

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
upper school girls in q lab

The Q Lab - A Space for Science & Inquiry

Opened for students in 2016, our Q Lab is like an exclamation point on our experiential and inquiry-based program. On an average day, in the earth and physical sciences classroom upstairs, you might see students measuring the energy generated by windmills or building pneumatic judo-bots.

Downstairs, in the makerspace classroom, Kindergarteners might be experimenting with shadows, 6th graders engaged in 3D design or printing, or 8th graders might be building a bench in Workshop. In the evenings, the space might be hosting one of our Family Maker Fridays, where K-8 students and their families gather to enjoy both high-tech and classic maker activities in our makerspace. Designed for ages 5-14, every student uses the Q Lab.

School Maker Faire

Inspired by the Maker Faire, students work in teams to accomplish ambitious projects.

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barbie bungie experiment

Barbie Bungee

Students engage with math and physics concepts in a playful way.

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Student projects at the Synchrotron

At the Lawrence Berkeley Labs Synchrotron, student-brought items are bombarded with electrons.

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Fish Mummies

Students learned how to prepare and mummify fish.

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Science Fair

Students choose their projects, and work to find a scientific answer to their hypothesis.

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Cardboard Arcade

Students use basic materials to create complex arcade games.

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Maker Club

chicken-VR-group-v2
Maker Club at the Whitehouse
BPC Maker Club at the White House Maker Faire
Maker Faire
Bay Area Science Festival
FABLEARN logo

Our Makerspace

We explore the potential of all manner of student making, including 3D and bio-printing, and the process of getting there.

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Events for the Community

Maker Club participates in a wide variety of extra-curricular and professional events.

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Student Leadership

Maker Club is facilitated by the teachers, but led by the students.

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Service to Our School

Maker Clubs uses design thinking and their skills for improving our school.

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Alumni Stay Connected to Maker Club

Maker Club connections often extend beyond the middle school years.

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chicken vr at maker faire

CHICKEN VR

The dream of being a chicken comes true with Chicken VR.

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Science Faculty

Cris Mytko

Christine Mytko

Fifth and Seventh Grade Science Teacher, K-8 STEAM Coordinator, Seventh Grade Dean of Students

Mad for AR, VR, improv and chickens

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Emmeline Hill

Emmeline Hill

Sixth Grade Science Teacher

Herded sheep by motorbike in Australia

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Jonathan Cohen

Eighth Grade Science Teacher

Apprenticed with a luthier, adept with a paddle

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Mason Hanson

Sixth Grade Technology Teacher, Upper School STEM Apprentice

Kayak-camped 40 miles around Lake Tahoe

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Megan Hubbard

Sixth Grade Math Teacher, Outdoor Education Director, and Sixth Grade Dean of Students

Zamboni driver

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Nicole Lockwood

Nicole Lockwood

Lower School Science Specialist

Apprenticed at the National Theater of Croatia

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