Mu Alpha Theta Shares the Joy of Math
It’s hard for many students to believe that learning and using math can be fun and exciting. Here at SJHS, our local Mu Alpha Theta chapter organized two special community mathematics events to share their own love for math with the students, faculty and staff of our school as well of those at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy, a K-8 school in Sunset Park. Mu Alpha Theta is a national mathematics honors society “dedicated to inspiring a keen interest in mathematics, developing strong scholarship in the subject, and promoting the enjoyment of mathematics in high school and two-year college students.”
Pi Day Celebration
The first event was our annual Pi Day celebration. The entire school community was invited to participate in two challenges that were prepared by Mu Alpha Theta members in preceding weeks: a game called “Slice That Pie!” and a pie eating contest. For the contest, participants had 45 seconds to eat as many slices of pie as they could. The slicing game was a bit more complicated: groups of 20 students stood in a circle and followed slicing instructions like “Assuming this is a pie, reduce the pie by ½. Make a new circle with the remaining students and reduce that pie by two fourths. Make a new circle with the remaining students and Increase that pie by 60%.” This game allowed students to practice calculating and reducing fractions, and converting between fractions and percentages, through a fun, interactive and collaborative activity.
This year also saw our first Math Meet! After several planning meetings in which members created and tested out and practiced math games, they traveled by subway to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Using dart boards, cards and Twister, the games the Mu Alpha Theta members created required students to answer “mental” Math questions based on multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. The last game was a “Math Meet” (similar to a Spelling Bee), and the winner received a Dunkin Donuts gift card. In addition to planning the games, Mu Alpha Theta members chose a music playlist, bought snacks, and did all the set up and clean up for the event. When it came time for goodbyes, one of the OLHP students said, “This was fun! Please come back soon.”