Math Modeling is taught by Mrs. Burns. Unlike a traditional math class, collaboration and group work are heavily emphasized. Instead of directly delivering the material, the content is formulated so the students can discover the beautiful mathematical ideas themselves. This makes the experience more meaningful and is a big confidence booster. In addition, the class taught us how to model and solve real-world problems using mathematics, which I found to be both fun and relevant.
The High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM) is a math modeling contest in which the entire school participates. We have 48 hours to solve a difficult real-world problem through math modeling and write up the solution in a technical document afterward. I was in a team of 4 with Arnav, Patrick, and Tarun. In HiMCM, a team could choose between two problems, and we decided to go with the problem of modeling bee populations. We felt it was more open-ended and allowed for more creativity than the other option. Although in the beginning, we had a difficult time finding where to start, we eventually realized that a recursive solution to model the populations was key. Finding data on the bee populations and working as a team to get all the components needed to finish our paper was the root of our success. Overall, the HiMCM was a great experience that improved my teamwork and math modeling skills.
In the Epsilon School problem, seven new teachers were hired to teach at the Epsilon school, and we need to determine how they should be assigned to classes. Because there was an exceedingly large number of possible assignments, we had to come up with a better solution than just testing every possibility. Consequently, this observation led us to use gradient descent, which was fast and effective in successfully allocating teachers to their most optimal classes. This was one of the first big group projects, and it was a great experience working together to solve this difficult but rewarding problem.