Yim and Agrawal to take over the reins of math club

October 15, 2019 — by Benjamin Li and Oliver Ye

After math teacher Andrew Shoemaker left for a new job in the San Diego area in June, the role of math club adviser was left open.

Now taking the reins of the popular club are math teachers Savita Agrawal and PJ Yim, who previously held the role before Shoemaker. While the two are keeping the main structure of lunch club meetings the same, they are planning on bringing back after-school sessions.

During lunch, the club will host exams such as the California Math League (CaML) and provide challenge problems. Since CaML is a monthly exam, club officers will be reviewing previous weeks’ tests every other lunch meeting, going over solutions in depth and answering any questions club members may have. 

Yim has also created a Canvas classroom for the Math Club, in hopes of streamlining the score distribution process for test takers. Since Canvas has the ability to automatically post pre-created messages, Yim prefers Canvas to Facebook for group communication. 

“It makes announcements easier, I could communicate easier, and there’s a calendar where I can also put all the important dates and the agenda,” Yim said. 

While Facebook will still be used, communication through that platform will be for quick announcements and reminders. In addition, students will be able to see their test scores on Canvas as soon as they are graded.

The lunchtime meetings, held in Agrawal’s room, will be primarily geared at preparing members for the American Math Competition (AMC) in the spring, the largest event that the math club hosts. 

While lunchtime tests will be open to all students, since certain math tournaments such as the Berkeley Math Tournament, Caltech Harvey Mudd Math Competition and the Stanford Math Tournament only allow a couple of students per school to attend, attendance for meetings will be factored into who gets to go.

Additionally, attendance for club lunch and after school meetings will be taken in order to limit the number of test takers for the AMC 10/12 B this year. The AMC 10/12 A will be open to all who are interested, but since Saratoga High must also accomodate for the 70 plus high school members, in addition to 30-40 students from Redwood Middle School who take the test annually, the math club has decided to limit the number of test takers to only those who are truly interested, club president Jeffrey Xu said.

After-school meetings will be held on Blue Bay Fridays, and will run from 2:10 to 3:45 p.m. in Yim’s room. During these meetings, officers will present novel ways to tackle problems and introduce interesting problem solving strategies.

The after-school meetings will be open to all who wish to attend, but Yim expects to see a different population of attendees since the topics covered after school will be different than that covered during lunch.

Yim hopes to host discussions and seminars after school on areas of math generally not covered in the school curriculum — probability, number theory and geometry not taught in high school.

“I’d like this to be more like a math circle kind of deal where you can study and others help you out,” Yim said. “It should be fairly fluid; I don’t want this to be rigid because it’s not a classroom.”

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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