Alice Xie, a rising senior at West Ranch High School, acknowledges that although she likes math and is president of the West Ranch math club, math isn’t for everyone.
“Oftentimes, math is associated with school,” said Xie. “’Oh, it’s so tedious, so much work, it’s so hard, it’s not fun, it can’t be fun, we’re not gonna use it in our future.’”
To combat their peers’ thoughts, West Ranch’s math club hosted their second annual Math Open at the school on May 18.
“Our goal was to just incorporate math in a fun way, so that students feel more inclined to go with math, learn more about math and just acclimate themselves (participants) to different styles of math,” said Xie.
Math Open is a math competition open to all students from all grade levels at West Ranch High School.
“Our goal with this competition was to just spread that awareness,” said Xie. “We did that again this year because last year’s results were really, really good. We had a lot of people show up and a lot of people had positive feedback about the competition.”
Local businesses provided prizes for the competition and each participant walked away with a coupon for a free juice. Those who scored well could walk away with meal packages and gift cards.
The members of the math club comprised the test wanting to make it as fun as possible. Considering all grade levels could participate, the test also had to involve math that every participant was able to do.
Xie said that the club wanted to shy away from word problems and questions that participants see every day in their own math classes.
“It also required using your brain to actually imagine the scenarios or really imagine like how a box might fold up or something,” said Xie. “We just wanted it to be something that schools typically don’t use in their tests or in their classes.”
Xie and the members were able to observe all the participants taking the test — watching them concentrate, stress and progress.
“It’s really great to be able to see not only their willingness to come to take this mathematics competition, but it’s also great to know that you can see their progress as well in not only competition math, but also school math,” said Xie.
Xie is hopeful that the competition opened the participants up to how fun math can be.