This year, the new Middle School Math Team was formed to get girls to use their creativity to solve multistep word problems and puzzles. Led by math teacher Kim Myers, the students meet Mondays during club time and Thursdays after school.
“We take on unusual out-of-the-box problems not typically covered in the classroom, which helps girls develop critical and creative thinking and become better at math,” Myers says. Along the way, the girls collaborate as a team and problem solve, discovering unique methods for finding solutions to mathematical problems.
Their first competition, Perennial Math
tournament, was held at the University Center at UTC on Saturday, November 17. Three GPS teams of five girls competed: eighth-graders Anisha Phade, McKenzie Chittum, Caroline Clark, Anya Parambath, Hannah Grace Kornberg, and Macy Mashburn; seventh-graders Lucie DeGaetano, Abigail Carpenter, and Sarah Day; and sixth-graders Grace Macziewski, Lawson Barrueta, Gwyneth Parks, Layan Siyam, Kennedy Doan, and Ella Whitaker.
In the seventh-grade individual competition, GPS swept the category with Lucie DeGaetano placing third, Sarah Day in second, and Abigail Carpenter won first. In the eighth-grade category, Anisha Phade placed first. In the group competition, GPS placed first and third. First-place team members were Sarah Day, Lucie DeGaetano, Abigail Carpenter, Anisha Phade, and Anya Paranbath; third-place team members were McKenzie Chittum, Caroline Clark, Hannah Grace Kornberg, Macy Mashburn, and Ella Whitaker.
"Before the competition started, I told them to just go in and do the best that they could do," said Myers. "I said, 'Have some fun, relax and enjoy yourself.' Winning so many awards was just the icing on the cake. As the girls like to chant during our meetings: 'We aren't mathematicians; we are mathmagicians!' I was really proud of their efforts and their successes."
The addition of the Math Team in club offerings this year is part of a wider initiative in the math department to focus more on deep problem solving. “This approach to learning prepares them for not only this type of competition but also for applying math concepts in their daily lives and in other subjects they’ll take in Upper School such as chemistry and physics,” says Lynne Macziewski, Head of Middle School. “Our doing so well in this competition is a testament to this shift in our math program. We are so proud of our girls and Ms. Myers. They were amazing.”