MOODY'S MEGA MATH CHALLENGE PROVED CHALLENGING FOR MAHS STUDENTS
A group of two McNair juniors and three seniors battled frigid conditions, limited time, and fatigue to compose an eighteen page, math-based research paper during the last week in February. Starting their day at 7:30 a.m., the students worked together to solve a complex math problem as part of Moody’s Mega Math Challenge. The experience was facilitated by a McNair math teacher, Christopher Kaczka. Though Mr. Kaczka was not permitted to assist the scholars throughout the challenge, he mentored them in the weeks beforehand, and he supervised them during the fourteen-hour work process, throughout which they consulted the Internet and various books. Mr. Kaczka described an “intense energy that filled the atmosphere as diagrams and charts were created, and equations covered the boards.” Juniors Jeriel Lao and Jackson Weaver and seniors Sarbari Sarkar, Sandy Seedhom, and Christopher Colon worked tirelessly, aided by the powers of orange juice and bagels.
Student Jeriel Lao described how the day unfolded, explaining how the nature of the tasks closely resembled the environment of business jobs. He also expanded on the significance of collaboration throughout tedious hours of grueling math, saying “We split up the work into teams based on the number of concerns at the time. At some points it would be two teams of two, and the other person working on the report; other times it would be all of us in a group to come up with a major decision; or it could just as easily be all of us working individually, calling when something interesting ends up on the table, physically or metaphorically.”
Despite the help of his teammates, Jeriel was surprised by the difficulty of the mathematical concepts, which were presented to him. He confessed “To be honest, I personally was not as prepared mathematically/scientifically as I expected to be, but due to the challenge of my current and previous classes, I expanded on those concepts with logic to create something entirely new, which helped when it came to more conceptual questions.” Although the team did not emerge victorious this year, the McNair community is proud of these students for their accomplishments, and we wish them all the best in their future mathematical endeavors!
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