The four images above represent some of the possible math subjects students in the team may cover throughout the year. These include perimeter and area, number bases, modular arithmetic, and sequences and series.
The four images above represent some of the possible math subjects students in the team may cover throughout the year. These include perimeter and area, number bases, modular arithmetic, and sequences and series.

York Math Team competes virtually over Zoom

October 5, 2020

York math team competed virtually over Zoom in their first meet of the year this Wednesday.

Out of over 45 schools, freshmen placed 14th, sophomores 11th, juniors 12th, and seniors 21st. The math team is currently meeting over Zoom for practices and meets. Normally, the math team meets twice a week and works on math in groups. They build up skills, and in early fall, go to meets. During the meets, five competitors from each grade take a test. Each test is different for every grade, but they all contain a variety of subjects, including perimeter and area, number bases and modular arithmetic.

“In a typical year, we have two practices a week, an hour after school, on Tuesday and Thursday,” senior oralist for the math team Andrew Brooks said. “About once a month we’ll have a competition at another school. Each student has to take a test, they individually are scored, and then there’s a whole way each school is scored.”

Practices, which happened Tuesday and Thursday starting at 3:15 p.m.  in previous years, were very important for the team. Students would get together and work on problems as a group in order to learn or improve math skills collaboratively.

“What would happen at our practices is we would be split up by grade level, and then we would be given a practice test, which we would all work on, and then grade at the end,” a junior on math team, Jericho Calago said.

Math team practices are less collaborative now that they are meeting virtually. Practices still happen twice a week, but in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, they occur over Zoom. This eliminates much of the group lead discussion in favor of more individual work.

“This year you don’t get that same group discussion. It’s very individual,” Emily Degembe, a sophomore on the math team, said. “Instead of discussing answers, and finding how one person did it, and then another, It’s kind of just on your own. You sort of just look at the answer sheet and try to figure it out from there”.

These practices, which go on throughout the season, are all in preparation for meets involving many other schools.

“In a normal math team meet, first we go and get food somewhere. After, we head to the school, or stay here at York depending on if it’s a home or away meet,” Degembe said. “Then you usually stay there the entire evening, only going to events you need to, and during those events you take the test”.

This evening long process has changed many ways this year. For example, meets are now much shorter, only lasting two hours. Going to Portillo’s before every meet, an honored math team tradition, is also off the table for now.

“Everybody got into one big Zoom call for the meet. We had to have our cameras on, and mics muted,” Calago said. “Then our teachers watched us as we took the test, and you had to sign a statement saying you didn’t receive any help or use any materials such as a calculator.”

Down the road, the math team will have four more tournaments before the state series begins. It is unknown how many of these tournaments will be held virtually, as things will likely change throughout the year.

“It’s really going well,” Brooks said. “Math team, unlike a sport or a lot of other clubs, doesn’t require a lot of in person things to happen. It’s really easy to conduct virtually, so the math team has really been able to thrive during this time.”

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