Take Home Math HonorsPosted by Josh Flory on 3/14/2019
March Madness is just around the corner, but for students at Farragut High School last weekend was an opportunity to triumph in Math Madness.
On Saturday, Farragut’s chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, a math honor society, won first place in the society’s state convention, and later this year will participate at the national convention in Las Vegas.
The state competition featured a variety of disciplines, including speed-based “ciphering”, a poster contest and a Scholars Bowl-style team competition. Several Farragut students won individual awards, in addition to the school’s top honors in the overall competition.
In an interview on Wednesday, team members said the key to preparing for the competition was a lot of practice, both individually and as a team. In some cases, that meant researching new information, while in other cases it was all about efficiency.
“If you come upon something that you don’t know, you have to research it online or ask someone,” said freshman Alice Tang. “Maybe if you know how to do something, you try and find a faster way or a shortcut.”
One question during the state competition asked how many combinations could be made using the letters from “Pikachu” (the name of a Pokemon character) while another asked students to identify the sum of the first 25 positive odd integers.
Senior Elliot Fang has participated in the national competition three times previously, and said the questions get significantly harder at that level, which makes it important to watch out for careless mistakes.
At the same time, Fang tries to help his younger teammates keep things in perspective. “I really just care about how much they can learn from it, rather than how well they can do at a competition,” he said.
More than two dozen students participated in the state competition, and there are 113 club members at the school. The club’s sponsors are teachers Angie Buckman, Jordan Brown, Jake Gulledge and Kelly Gruhn.
Brown had never participated in the state competition before, and said it was “really awesome” to see the hard work of students pay off. “I’m learning a lot from them, too," she added.