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Math Team hosts and wins third place in relay at math competition

Betsey Bennett and Natalie Sweet

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This past Saturday, various math teams from schools around the city competed to solve complex problems in the Horace Mann Math Competition (HoMMaC).

The Math Team organizes and writes questions for HoMMaC, a biennial conference that includes three sections of competition: an individual round, two team rounds, and a relay round.
This year, the school won third place in the relay round of the competition.

In the relay round, math problems are passed off from team member to team member, event organizer Dora Woodruff (10) said. One student starts off with the question, and then another student takes over, using the answer that the first person calculated, she said.

“That means if one person gets it wrong, every person would get it wrong, and the final answer would be wrong,” Richard He (11), an organizer of the event, said.

Since the relay round required teammates relying on each other’s skills, the team became closer as a result, Max Chung (10), a participant in the competition, said.

“It was really satisfying,” Chung said. “We only answered two out of the five questions with educated guessing.”

According to Matthew Li (11), an organizer of the event, the increase of math teams at HoMMaC this year in comparison to the previous HoMMaC suggests that the math community in New York City has grown.

“HoMMaC two years ago was a lot smaller; there were only three teams,” Matthew said.

This year, five other schools, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Spence, Trinity, and Brearley, competed at HoMMaC, each sending about six to eight people.

The questions involve topics such as number theory, combinatorics, algebra, and geometry, Matthew said.

“We try not to use questions that would require a lot of prior knowledge, like calculus questions,” Stephanie Li (12), an organizer of the event, said. “We avoid topics that you have to read up on or study for.

This way, the competition is accessible to students who have not yet learned more advanced topics in school, like calculus, she said.

According to Chung, the Math Team held a meeting three weeks prior to the competition to review concepts, practice questions, and discuss interesting problems.

Now, the next goals of the math team include preparing for the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC), the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament, and Purple Comet, He said.

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Math Team hosts and wins third place in relay at math competition