At Mass Academy, Math Modeling is taught by Mrs. Burns. Math Modeling is a class that is designed to teach us to make connections, and further our problem-solving skills, rather than teaching us a formula. We are taught different ways to look at problems; but ultimately, it is up to the students to piece together the findings. Everyone comes to Mass Academy having learned different concepts, so collaboration is a huge part of the class. One of the greatest parts about Math Modeling is seeing all of the different ways you can solve a problem.

HiMCM, –the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling– is a math modeling competition for high schoolers. What makes HiMCM special though, is that the contest consists of 48 straight hours of math modeling. The groups of 3-4 students were given access to the available problems on Wednesday at 4:00 pm and by Friday 4:00 pm, a document had to be submitted with the work we were able to come up with. In those 48 hours, groups had to choose between Problem A or Problem B, research, come up with a model to represent the situation, and format all of their thinking in a document. My group –Emily, Amy, and myself– chose Problem A: the bee population problem. To the left, you can find this problem, our brainstorming document, and the final document we submitted. HiMCM can seem daunting at first but it was an invaluable experience not only for math modeling but also for group work and communication. If you are interested in learning more about HiMCM, click here.

In math modeling, we see many different types of problems. One such problem we modeled was the Pythagoras High School problem. At Pythagoras High School, the football team is trying to determine which ticket price would lead to the most income. In order to determine a ticket price, a survey was sent out to the families of Pythagoras High School. This problem was not only an individual assignment but also had to be completed using Wolfram Mathematica. Mathematica is software that is can be used to create graphs and tables, do math with lists, and access data such as a country’s population all in one place. The syntax is hard to get used to at first, but the satisfaction of completing an assignment is immense.