Episcopal math teachers offer an array of math learning opportunities beginning with the foundations of math in Lower School and progressing through AP math courses in Upper School. Many students also pursue their passion for math beyond the classroom with tremendous success. Here are a few recent examples.
Middle School students Nate McLean and Luke Stelly recently qualified for the MATHCOUNTS state competition based on their individual scores on the chapter invitational. MATHCOUNTS coach and Middle School math teacher James Moroney says the top five students from each chapter invitational and the top 10 overall individual scorers from the state qualified. The competition is set for March 25th.
“I am happy that I qualified for the state competition because I worked hard, and it paid off,” says Nate. “I am excited to test my skills against the top math students in the state.” Nate, who also participates in cross country, soccer, track and geography club, says he enjoys math “because I like to solve problems and find patterns.”
Luke is also excited to advance to the next round. He says he has always been interested in math, and he enjoys participating in MATHCOUNTS. “I find it easy,” he says. “It’s a good brain teaser.” Luke also plays soccer and football. He says a MATHCOUNTS competition is “not as tense as the sports and everyone’s more chill.” Luke, who previously won several trophies with the Middle School Mu Alpha Theta group, says he plans to compete with the Upper School group next year. In the meantime, he recommends MATHCOUNTS to his classmates. “If you like math, it’s fun,” he says.
The MATHCOUNTS mission states that “MATHCOUNTS provides engaging math programs to U.S. middle school students of all ability levels to build confidence and improve attitudes about math and problem solving.” The organization accomplishes this mission by offering a national competition series. Students compete on the local, regional and state level for the opportunity to move on to the national round where the ultimate prize is a $20,000 scholarship. The competition includes sprint, target, team and countdown rounds which measure a student’s speed, accuracy, problem-solving and math reasoning skills.
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“It’s exciting to see that there are kids getting excited about math,” says Math Department Chair Stephen Anderson ’02. He points to the persistence and determination that all students develop when tackling a challenging math problem. In Middle School, Moroney enjoys seeing his students continue math success as they advance to Upper School and eventually college. He appreciates how students approach each challenge. “They come up with different ways to do this and explore that,” he says. “They’re making connections and discovering really cool ways to solve problems.”
There is also a sense of belonging and community that is created when students work together or participate in math groups with their peers. Like a sport or an artistic talent, a shared love of math helps students make friends with classmates outside of their normal group and even outside of their school. It is the common denominator that brings them all together.
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