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Celebrating Pi Day with the Math Team

Math. Is. Everywhere. While we may not be solving algebraic equations every day, and calculators are readily available outside of a classroom, math is an important part of our daily lives—from telling time to planning a budget. Math is one subject that some people absolutely love while others find it extraordinarily complicated. For those who love math, solving problems, and meeting others just like them, Laurel Springs has a Math Team they can join. This club is open to full-time LSS students in grades 7-12. Interested high school students are also eligible for the LSS chapter of Mu Alpha Theta. 

One Delicious Decimal

Pi DayThose who join the Math Team explore real world math applications and participate in online competitions during the year. One of the yearly celebrations the Math Team looks forward to is Pi Day on March 14 (since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π). Since 2009, Pi Day has also been recognized as the International Day of Mathematics. Math lovers observe this special day by decorating, eating, or throwing pies, all while discussing the significance of the symbol. 

Math Team President, Harim Hahn, has big plans for Pi Day:

“On March 10, I will be leading a presentation called ‘PI: a hassle to type but worth the hype’ about some of the not-so-obvious places that pi appears in our world. For example, if you dropped a bunch of needles of length l randomly onto a flat board with parallel lines drawn on a distance of 2l apart, then the total number of needles divided by the needles that touch a line will approximate pi. The more needles you drop, the closer to pi the approximation will be. This is known as Buffon’s Needle Problem. How does this work? I guess you’ll have to come to the meeting to find out. ;)”

A Club to Count On

Anna Harris is a Laurel Springs Math teacher and staff sponsor of the Math Team. She filled us in on some of the club presentations:

“This year the officers have really taken ownership over the club.” Harris says. “We have two meetings a month. One meeting is run by the officers—they do presentations, or we have a guest speaker. We’ve had Dr. Richard Wilder talk to us about the history of Math and Mr. Chad Lower talked to us about Math in SPACE. (He’s a NASA ambassador.) The other meeting of the month I run and it is the monthly challenge.”

Some of the officer presentations included topics such as The Math Behind Marketing and Lies, Deceit, Statistics. Carla Klaasen, Vice President of the Math Team, joined the club back in 2019. “I think it is really a great club to develop a passion for mathematics.” Klaasen says. “Personally, I enjoy researching the presentations we make the first meeting of every month. We try to create the presentations on a level all participants will understand and emphasize the real-world applications of mathematics.”

Harim also enjoys creating the different presentations and adds, “playing Kahoot with everyone is really fun. Even though our math experience ranges, the problems are mostly logic rather than fact-based, so everyone has a real chance of winning.” 

Sharing the Love

When it comes to the subject itself, these math lovers look beyond the set of numbers to find the true beauty beneath. “I find mathematics utterly perplexing and strange,” says Klaasen. “It seems very theoretical yet is the basis of the real world as well. Generally, I find mathematics so interesting because it is everywhere and the cornerstone of everything.”

The real-world applications inspire Harim as well. “I love how intertwined math is with our lives. Knowing the formulas is useful, but I think that the logic behind it is significantly more important. For example, you don’t need to know what a radian is or memorize the quadratic equation and Newton’s Laws of Motion in order to see that how you kick a soccer ball affects the ball’s motion. Does it go fast or high or far or spin? Why did it map out an arch? Once you do that hands-on exploration, you’re more likely to understand and remember the mathematics behind it, rather than if you had memorized flashcards.”

As President of the Math Team, Harim hopes her passion for math is contagious. “My goal…is to get students to appreciate the power of math so they don’t get disillusioned by the potential tedious aspects. I am incredibly lucky to be able to share my discoveries with the math team and hopefully inspire them in the process.”

If you know someone who would love to participate in competitive fun—both individually and in teams—to solve challenging, enriching math problems, check out what else the Math Team has to offer. All full-time Laurel Springs students have a wide variety of clubs to choose from. Whether they’re passionate about math, art, science, and everything in between, there’s a range of choices for every grade level. Contact clubs@laurelsprings.com to learn more about what clubs are available to join.