BG’s math team has been working hard and meeting every week to prepare students for the many competitions throughout the year. Recently, they finished the math team ICTM Regionals and are currently practicing for the North Suburban Math League competition in which they are striving for a great outcome.
According to math teacher and math team coach Zachary Eccles, he is proud of how his students have been doing so far this year. They’ve been successful in many competitions in the past years and are hoping to keep having excellent results.
“The NSML is split up into divisions, there’s six of them, and within our division most of our students are about second or third out of eight or nine teams,” Eccles said.
Eccles’s favorite times are during the nights of the meets when the students work through challenging problems after the meet is over. He enjoys the rigorous and problem-solving aspect of it.
According to sophomore Naiya Patel, the math team has allowed her to learn many new things. She likes being able to challenge herself by expanding her knowledge in math. The math learned during the club meetings isn’t the same as the typical math students may learn during one of their math classes. It often requires more in-depth thinking and problem-solving skills.
“The math team motivates me to be better at math,” sophomore Angela Liang said. “It pushes me past my limits and makes me feel more confident with myself.”
According to Patel, math isn’t the only thing she has learned. Alongside with the club comes teamwork and being able to work with others. Since it is very team-oriented, it teaches valuable life skills such as communication and how to be a leader and role model amongst others. Since the math is usually more difficult as compared to regular math classes and requires you to think thoroughly while solving, working with others is a great way to collaborate according to Liang.
“There were problems I wasn’t able to solve, so I would ask my peers for assistance,” Patel said. “That way I was also able to learn the different ways a problem could be solved.”
According to Liang, working through problems isn’t all about memorizing difficult formulas. It allows you to be a part of a team and learn creative and effective ways that make it easier to understand what you’re doing long-term.
“I met a lot of new people and learned a lot from them,” Liang said, “I also enjoy being with the coaches, they give everyone a nice experience.”
New people are welcome to join the math team no matter their background in math. The skills and lessons taught are valuable for everyone to apply in the future, according to Eccles.
“Right now we have plenty of freshmen and sophomores so [next year] I’m looking forward to being able to recruit more freshmen on our team,” Eccles said.
According to Eccles, the math is fun, new and challenging. The math isn’t what you’d normally see in typical classes where you’re given a formula and have to solve the problem. It involves thinking outside of the box and constantly working to figure out the correct answer. Many of the students that participate in the team are students that are interested in majoring in the math/science field later on.
“Even if you don’t enjoy doing math, you should still give the math team a try because it could possibly change your opinion on it,” Patel said. “It’s different and it helps you develop important life skills and teamwork.”