This has been an unprecedented year…everywhere! The Department of Mathematical Sciences reluctantly canceled our original Math Day in March. It was a sad day for our 80 registered attendees. The cancelation came from both the attendees feeling unsafe to travel to the school and FAU not wanting to have students put at risk.
As the weeks turned into months, we watched many programs pivot to virtual offerings. Our thoughts changed: What if we change our venue to our student’s comfy couch? Would it be possible? Would we have any attend? We were almost sure people would be tired of attending events on Zoom.
Math Day is a bit more complicated than attending a lecture online. We have an individual Math Competition as well as a team competition. We were also giving prizes! This piqued more of an interest than we thought! We had 143 students attend our Math Day Competition. Students in Broward and Palm Beach Counties attended.
The day opened with a greeting from Rainer Steinwandt, Ph.D., chair of Department of Mathematical Sciences and professor at FAU.
Kara Maki, the director of the Summer Math Applications in Science with Hands-on Experience for Girls (SMASH) program at Rochester Institute of Technology, gave an impressive talk about Contact lenses. Using mathematical calculations, they can determine the fit of a contact lens and how well the material can stretch. Kara was originally going to fly down to Florida for our Pi Day event but was more than happy to join us for Virtual Math Day.
Students were excited to attend our first Virtual Math Day.
Jessica Wan of Florida Virtual School stated, ‘I really enjoyed the Virtual Math Day; the talk was interesting and doing the team competition with another mathlete was fun. It was my first time attending a Math Day at FAU and I liked the whole experience. I feel proud of how I did; it was quite challenging and the problems were fun and tricky. I liked competing with others and it was a fun learning experience for me.’
Vismay Sharan of Atlantic Community High School stated ‘I enjoyed the competition a lot. I especially liked the format of the team round.’
Cypress Bay High School earned the number 3 spot in the team competition. Their teacher Ari Novick stated ‘FAU Math Day presents students with a unique set of problem types compared to the other competitions in which we participate, so we all appreciated the fresh challenges. My students certainly did enjoy the event, and that in turn means I enjoyed the event. I am of course proud of how my students did. Team wins always feel even more special than individual wins because they reflect something deeper than mastery of math problem-solving. I was especially proud of the conduct of my students during the competition. The norms for online interactions are being made in real-time and have not been explicitly taught to students. So, when I saw them turning on their webcams without being asked, sending virtual claps during the award ceremony, and staying after the award ceremony to say "thank you for hosting" to competition organizers, I was overwhelmed with pride. Absolutely we would attend a virtual competition in the future. We were impressed with how smoothly everything went and how easy the whole process was. We're sure that any future virtual competition will only build on that.’
Students were instructed to keep their mics and cameras throughout both the individual and team competitions. As a moderator, I was able to visit all rooms and meet all the students. This is something no one is able to do in a crowded auditorium. The Virtual format gave the contest a more ‘connected’ approach. Though we were in over 150 separate locations, that day, we were present in one ‘room’ together!
Congratulations to all of our winners! The contest results are posted below. For all who won a cash prize, please check out the Winners' Circle module for details in processing your prize! Check out our photo album here!
Top 3 Individual Contest Winners
Jessica Wan - Florida Virtual School
Vismay Sharan - Atlantic Community High School
Jae Young Beck - American Heritage School
Individual Contest Honorable Mentions:
Kevin Liu - Westglades Middle School
Sharvaa Selvan - American Heritage School
Albert Wang - Cypress Bay High School
Corbin Diaz - American Heritage School
TEAM Contest Winners - Top 3 Schools
1st: American Heritage (Team #14 in 1st Place & Team #16 in 3rd)
2nd: Cypress Bay High School (Team # 22)
3rd: West Glades Middle School (Team # 18)
TEAM Contest Honorable Mentions
While Individuals competing in the Team contest cannot win a prize for their school, we congratulate the following students on their achievements of scoring among the Top 3 Teams:
Scoring among the 1st Place winners: Vismay Sharan, Lalima Sharan, and Jin Alyssa (Team # 32).
Scoring among the 3rd Place winners: Jessica Wan & Siyuan Du (Team # 34), and
Marvin Gao & Jeffrey Yu (Team # 13).
The top 50 students from the Individual Contest and the top 10 teams from the Team Contest were posted in the previous announcement.
A special note of congratulations to our Middle School participants, scoring among our top students in both the Individual and Team Competitions: Jayden Lang, Darsh Patel and Kevin Liu from West Glades Middle School, and Marvin Gao and Jeffrey Yu from Omni Middle School!
Made possible by the generous support of:
· The Donald and Alice P. Hudson Charitable Fund
· Wells Fargo