By: Angela Luo
– Math Madness: High school students help younger peers gear up for upcoming math competition in Pleasanton, California –
Every Saturday afternoon, around 20 middle school students gather in a small classroom to put their math skills to the test. Attendance is taken, homework is turned in, and then the students put their brains together to crack down on a series of challenging math problems.
The math class is run by high school students from Global Leadership Initiative (GLI), a Tri-Valley high school and middle school student club. Founded in 2010, GLI participates in various community events and cultural exchange, and also hosts fundraisers, talent shows, and bake sales to raise money for underprivileged children around the world. Last year, GLI has donated over $10,000 to local and international charities.
Passionate in math, fellow GLI member Alex Wang created this free math class to help middle school students prepare for the upcoming American Math Competition (AMC 8). “I really like math, and I really want others to like math too,” the 15-year-old Miramonte sophomore explains. Other members Eric Hou from Dougherty Valley, Kevin Gao and Johnson Min from Amador Valley, and Shannon Yan and Adam Zhu from Granada High are enthusiastic teachers of the class.
Alex and his team put together an extensive curriculum geared toward helping students think outside of the box. Math competitions such as the AMC 8 deviate from regular school-level math in that they require deeper-level skills such as creativity and critical thinking to solve the problems. The teachers of the GLI math class do an excellent job at explaining concepts such as permutations, factorials, and Pascal’s triangle for a middle school-level audience.
“I’ve learned a lot about math that I can use to apply in and out of school,” says student Stephanie Yu, an eighth grader at Windemere Ranch Middle School. During class, the students are engaged and focused in their work and are not afraid to ask questions. In fact, class discussions are often held, so not only are the students improving their math skills, but also other valuable life skills such as teamwork and collaboration.
Though the math is challenging, the students are genuinely interested in improving their knowledge, and their positive attitude permeates throughout the classroom. Shouts of “Yes!” or “I got it!” can be heard as students finally figure out the answer to an especially difficult problem. With their hard work and enthusiasm, it won’t be long before these students top the competition at AMC 8 and other national math competitions.