The 2018-19 Indian Trail Mathletes team brought home the top honors during the Science Hill Mu Alpha Theta Math Competition at Science Hill recently. Indian Trail sixth-grader Shreeyan Papireddy took home the top individual honor, while classmate Shreyas Singh took home second place. The team of Brayden O’Neil, Leyton Crumley, Samuel Moody, Dawson Carson and Singh took home first place during the team competition.
Indian Trail sixth-grade math teacher Nicole Cross leads the afterschool club that is in its sixth year. The club allows students to compete against other schools in math competitions. The rest of the team includes Santiago Bustamante, Brit Crockett, Seamus Blackburn, Josiah Smith, Phebe Quewea, William Bond and Nathan Prunkard.
Students are selected based on different criteria which include one quarter of teacher observation of student behaviors, academic performance in the classroom and analysis of student testing data. Students are then selected by their math teacher and names are submitted for notification of selection to try out for the ITIS Mathletes team. Each year, close to 90 students take the qualifying test, with approximately a dozen students being selected to the team.
Cross said each student seems to really enjoy participating.
“The students love the challenge; this is fun for them,” Cross said. “Solving math problems is just fun for them and it challenges their brains. It also helps them better prepare for their regular classes because then they’re at a higher-level and they’re able to breakdown some of those lower-level questions.”
Most of the competitions revolve around seventh- and eighth-grade math, but there are also mixes of trigonometry and calculus, which Cross admits is sometimes a bit over her head.
“I’m going to be honest, there are things that I have no idea how to solve because I’m sixth and seventh grade math, that’s where my specialty is,” Cross said through a smile, “but these kids love the challenge and we work the problems out together to find the correct answer.”
O’Neil said he really enjoys being a part of the Mathletes and it’s given him a lot of confidence.
“You feel good when you get a question right that you didn’t even know that you could do,” he said. “It gives me a good amount of confidence, because I know when I get to that grade level, I already know the material. So that can help me a lot in the future.”
Singh said that he was pleased with his second place finish at the Mu Alpha Theta competition and he has thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the mathlete team at Indian Trail.
“It’s really fun because you have a little bit of competition and then there is actually someone that is at your level and then even if you get something wrong, you have a lot of people to explain the correct answer to you,” Singh said.