By JULIAN YERGER – Algebra and Geometry. Statistics, Calculus, and Trigonometry. For the recent Math Madness competitions, students were tested on a wide range of concepts, but logic and reasoning were the most important.!
Math Madness is an interscholastic competition held for five weeks in the spring and fall, testing each student’s knowledge of Algebra and logic. The tests were eight questions long and taken online by the IHS Math Team.
Although the math team has existed for a long time, interest has increased dramatically in the last five years. Currently about twenty-five members strong, the math team also attends competitions at other schools. There are eight students in Math Club, but many others participate in the competitions anyway.
To challenge their knowledge of mathematics, the tests included many problems based on logic. This way, it was still possible for a freshman to answer all the questions correctly. “The most difficult questions involved only Algebra and didn’t have Calculus, they just required outside-of-the-box thinking,” said senior Charlie Bennett. “Typically two of them were easy, three were impossible, and rest were in between.”
Although it was possible for students to get a perfect score, that was very unlikely. According to fellow senior Jake Benhart, a common type of problem on these tests was the, “long extended sequence problem, involving multiple steps.”
Typically, these problems didn’t require advanced math and instead demanded creative thinking. They could be often be solved manually, although this took a very long time. Adding to the pressure, these tests were time limited to 30 minutes. “My hardest question asked the sum of all consecutive multiples of 2001,” said sophomore Muhsin Wahi-Anwar.
Questions like these were hard to even know how to solve, because this type of logic is often not taught in math class. There were no formulas to follow, only intuition.
For those interested, Math Team can be a fun way to improve problem solving skills, and it seems like IHS has yet another team to be proud of.
[Photo by Julian Yerger]