This year will mark the third year the Mu Alpha Theta club has hosted March Mathness, an event during which fourth and fifth graders will participate in competitive math activities. The activities will take place from 9:00 A.M to 1:00 P.M. at RBHS on March 11. Club president senior Stephanie Zhang said Mu Alpha Theta begins preparing for the event in late December and early January.
“We have people visit the elementary schools and private schools in Columbia to speak about the contest and encourage kids to come,” Zhang said. “We have members of Mu Alpha Theta write the 40 question math test that we’ll be administering. We have members who register all of the kids. Our members even make decorations for the event.”
The club’s sponsor, math teacher Dennis Fitzgerald is unable to attend, so math teacher Bob Borst will be filling in for him. Borst explained that students will take a written math test, and the top 10 students with the highest scores will be recognized.
“RBHS students who enjoy math want reach out to young children who also love math and logic and puzzles,” Borst said. “They see a benefit for young students to remain interested in math activities and games. This is a chance for our RB students to have fun while being a positive role model for younger students.”
After the 40 minute test, the kids get to participate in various math games and puzzles, including Rubik’s cubes, paper airplane flying and architecture activities. Participants will receive tickets to trade in for prizes or chances to win gift certificates in a raffle.
Senior Sarah Stannard is looking forward to interacting with the some of more than 220 participants. As head of the registration committee, she will be working at registration as well as proctoring and grading tests.
“I love this event,” Stannard said. “The kids are the sweetest, and we really do our best to ensure that everybody’s having an awesome time.”
March Mathness is a popular tradition with the community. Zhang stressed its importance, as there aren’t many events that allow kids to have fun with math. She likes that March Mathness lets kids see what math is like outside of the classroom without being stressful.
“[March Mathness] is incredibly exciting for me. This year, I’m President, and it’s great seeing how much the organization and the event has expanded. We’ve expanded to have [more than 400] prize donations from local businesses, and this year the number of kids registered has increased a lot from last year,” Zhang said. “Since I’ve had two years of experience of helping out with March Mathness, I’m able to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the event the last two years to come up with an even better event. I love seeing the event grow, and I’m excited to see it grow even more next year.”