Math Club kicks off with early competitions


Courtesy of Joanna Lin

(From left to right) Emily Liu (10), Katherine Tian (11), Cynthia Chen (10), Gwyneth Chen (12), Joanna Lin (12), Grace Huang (10), Allison John (9) and Katherine Zhang (11) pose in front of the Stratton Student Center at MIT after the contest. Math Prize for Girls was held on Sept. 24 at MIT.

by Srinath Somasundaram, Reporter

The upper school Math Club participated in some of the first competitions of the school year on Sept. 24, kicking off its many math contests.

Eight girls, Joanna Lin (12), Gwyneth Chen (12), Katherine Tian (11), Katherine Zhang (11), Cynthia Chen (10), Emily Liu (10), Grace Huang (10) and Allison John (9), participated in the Math Prize for Girls contest.

Math Prize for Girls, sponsored by the Advantage Testing Foundation, is an invitational competition held at MIT for high school and middle school girls. This year, around 270 students from the U.S. and Canada participated in the competition. Participants apply during the summer and are selected based on their performance on the AMC math contests.

Math Prize for Girls is meant to encourage young girls to pursue their interests in math and consists of 20 problems solved over a span of two and a half hours. The top ten performers are given cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $31,000.

Though the eight students who participated in Math Prize for Girls did not win any cash prizes, two students, Joanna Lin (12) and Katherine Tian (11), scored just one point shy of an honorable mention.

“I thought it was really fun since it was an all-girl event, so you got to meet other girls who also really like math,” Cynthia Chen (10) said. “Usually, math is a field that’s dominated more by men, so it was nice to see girls who had an interest in math.”

In addition to the Math Prize for Girls competition, the “Math Madness” team-based competition, held by AreteLabs, began last week with a practice round on Sept. 27 and formally began with a round on Oct. 6, in which upper school students beat a team from Lone Peak High School in Utah.  

Hundreds of American middle and high schools participate in “Math Madness, ” a weekly contest in which participating teams compete against each other in an eight-question, 30-minute round. The questions are answered individually, and the top five scores of each team deem the winner who will move on to the next round and play another team the following week.

Math Club’s members also participated in the fall startup event of the National Assessment and Testing on Sept. 28. In this event, participants were given 30 minutes to solve 100 problems ranging in difficulty from simple arithmetic to integration. This competition is the first of a set of four that happen throughout the year.

“There are some really strong performers this year and every year, they do pretty well on this competition,” Math Club adviser Dr. Anuradha Aiyer said following the first round of the contest.

Additionally, Math Club participated in the first round of the Mandelbrot Competition on Oct. 6.

This individual competition takes place as five rounds spread throughout the school year. Each round is 40 minutes in length and consists of seven problems designed to engage and stretch students of all mathematical capabilities.

After all five rounds, individual scores are summed and those who led their respective region or league receive a prize, while schools with several high-scoring students receive a plaque.

Math Club plans to continue to participate in “Math Madness” weekly, and their next off-campus math contest will be the Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC) on Nov. 18.