The math modeling course at Mass Academy is taught by Mrs. Burns. This course is unlike a traditional high school math class, as it puts an emphasis on analytical thinking, competition-style math, and group work. In this class, collaboration is key – whether it be reviewing homework with a partner, working on projects in small groups, or discussing problems with the whole class.

The High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM) is a math competition for high school students. For this contest, we were split into teams and given 48 hours to solve a math modeling problem and develop a written report. My team chose Problem A, a prompt revolving around the declining bee populations in the United States, and creating a model that would portray the changes in population size. On the first day of the competition, we focused our efforts on understanding the problem, doing background research, and brainstorming potential solutions. On the second day, we began to delve deeper into making a model and drafting our paper. That night, my team pulled an all-nighter to finish our paper. While I had never done anything like this before, it was definitely a challenging but worthwhile experience.

In order to practice for the HiMCM competition, we did a practice round to gain an understanding of what the competition would look like on a smaller scale. This was completed in a much shorter time period, and instead of creating a written report, we were instructed to make a slideshow. We then presented our solutions to our peers and received written feedback.