In Math, we have two main focuses: math modeling and precalculus work. In class, we work on problems that require creative thinking and problem solving, which encourages discussion among students. As a result, students learn a wide range of different problem solving techniques to help expand one's understanding of math.
During the beginning of the year, we did a lot of work in Mathematica. Developed by Wolfram, Mathematica is a tool that makes it easy to model, modify, and analyze different data sets. Using mathematical modeling, we solved many complex real-life problems such as this easing traffic problem. As part of the problem requirements, we needed to determine appropriate guidelines to provide drivers going through a tunnel in order to ensure safety while maximizing the amount of traffic going by.
Our math modeling culminated with the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM). In this competition, there are two modeling problems. Each team chooses one problem, solves it, and writes up a solution to turn in. We chose to do the first problem on a model for high school jobs because it appealed to our team more. Teams must be anonymous to prevent bias in judging, so each team is identified with a unique number. Typically, Mass Academy runs this competition as a 36 hour contest. We also followed 36 hour timeline; however, because remote learning made progress much slower, teams were given an extra few days if it was needed.
For our precalculus work, we do hard problems from the Phillips Exeter Problem Sets. From these, we have so far discussed vectors, trigonometry, 3D geometry, and optimizations. Here is an example of a problem that we presented in class.