Mrs. Burns makes this class significantly different from your typical math class, for the better. Instead of doing rows and rows of random problems for the sake of it, we completed problems related to some aspect of real life. Throughout this process, we gained the ability to create our own math equations to represent new problems (known as math models). We were also given the chance to compete in math competitions, one of which is detailed below.
We got the opportunity to compete in a competition known as HiMCM - the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling. This is a great experience where groups of up to four students get to work on a world-life problem for 36 (yes, 36) consecutive hours! The best part is that we get limited amounts of information and the freedom to solve the problem in whatever way we choose. We had to create a mathematical equation (or series of equations) which can represent the population of a bee hive under specific conditions, answer some problems associated with it, and create a graphic, all while fitting it into a paper less than 25 pages. We went about the problem by starting very basic, with equations such as "births - deaths = change in population", and then growing more complex over time, with the assistance of programs such as Wolfram Mathematica. The entire process was a blast!
In addition to HiMCM, we got to complete a wide variety of math modeling problems, which Mrs. Burns calls POWs (Problem of the Week). These were interesting problems that, similar to HiMCM, were completely up to us in the way which we wanted to solve them either in groups or individually. One of the POWs which we did was called the Pythagoras High School. For this, we had to find the "ideal" ticket price for a highschool football game given the results of a survey. I created a mini-paper using Wolfram Mathematica to explain my solution to the problem.