The best squadratic in school: math team


The calculator team works together during practice to solve math problems. Math team members cooperates with their teammates in order to do well in competitions.

Caroline Sun, Bear Facts Contributor

For most students, math equals one or two periods a day, plus some after school homework and studying. But for one of LZ’s academic teams, math is not something that is limited to a lecture, a class, or a test.

The math team, sponsored by Margaret Koy and Jennifer Ventrelle, math coaches, is an opportunity for students who enjoy math to meet and work with others who share a common denominator.

“If  you really like math, it’s a good way to meet other people who also like math,” Ventrelle said. “It’s just a nice way to work with people who enjoy doing math problems like you do.”

But being on the math team, according to Ventrelle, isn’t just about meeting people with shared interests. According to her, it is also a great way for students to put their skills and calculators to the test by participating in competitions, sometimes by themselves, and sometimes with teams.

“There are grade level competitions, so all freshmen compete in Algebra 1, all sophomores compete in Geometry, all juniors compete in Algebra 2, and all seniors compete in pre-calc and they’re all individual tests,” Ventrelle said. “But there are also the team competitions,  like there’s a calculator team which is mixed level, there’s eight person freshman-sophomore, and there’s also eight person junior-senior teams, where you sit down together and one of [the team members] will call out which problems they’re working on so they’ll obviously not being working on the same problems and then they try to go back and double check.”

To prepare for these competitions, math team holds practices on Thursdays from 3:20 to 4 pm in order to get members ready for their various events.

“Practices are fun because every time you go, it’s different,” Nithila Kannan, freshman math team member, said. “Some days, there are meets but then when there aren’t, we sometimes do a general quick test thing that’s around six questions long and on other days you practice with what you’re doing in the actual meet, so the individual tests or you can practice with your team to do problems.”

While these practices serve as helpful study sessions for students in their competition, the preparation itself is only a fraction of what practices offer. According to Phillip Liang, junior math team member, the benefits of being on such a team is not limited to academics.

“Meeting the new people is pretty interesting because there’s some really, really smart people on math team and it’s just interesting to see them work stuff out and then have their ideas presented to you,” Liang said. “It really just changes your perspective on life and makes you see beyond the box.”