Math Superstars inspires the next generation

Junior Daniel Van (left) and senior Ean Choi (center) build an index card tower with a local elementary school student for one of MO-Maths Math Superstars activities on Oct. 31.
Junior Daniel Van (left) and senior Ean Choi (center) build an index card tower with a local elementary school student for one of MO-Math’s Math Superstars activities on Oct. 31.
Photo by Caleb Youngblood

Math Superstars was hosted on Oct. 31 to inspire a love of math in kids through games, activities, tests and lessons. The event was organized by MO-Math, an MSMS student-led organization which strives to inspire students’ passion for learning and problem-solving outside of the classroom. 

MSMS math teacher and Mo-Math sponsor Lauren Zarandona said the purpose of Math Superstars is to provide kids with engaging math enrichment. 

“We feel like for so many kids, what they get in class is fine — it matches their standards — but it doesn’t inspire them; it doesn’t allow them to problem-solve,” Zarandona said. “[MO-Math] is here to give opportunities for learning outside of what is normal in the classroom.”

Zarandona also said Math Superstars is an opportunity for the state’s best problem-solvers to challenge themselves. 

“They take a test and then do little engineering contests and activities with people they’ve never met before,” Zarandona said. “We do our groups so that kids from the same school are not put together. We want to take them a little bit out of their comfort zones.”

This year was the first since 2019 Math Superstars was hosted in the Hooper Academic Building. Trotter Convention Center was utilized years prior due to the large number of attendees. However, due to conflicts, MO-Math hosted it in Hooper this year. Fourth, fifth and sixth graders cycled through classrooms as they rotated through activities, while second and third graders moved to Shackelford auditorium. 

Each group of kids got the chance to play mathematical games with MSMS juniors and seniors. Senior Noah Lee — MO-Math President — said the second and third graders’ favorite game was Race to the Treasure.

“This was the game that Vivian [Peng], Landon [Tu] and I had to make an extra game board for,” Lee said. “[It] represents a sort of fantastical, problem-solving journey in which kids work collaboratively to reach a treasure chest before an angry ogre does.” 

Jada Rosa, one of Math Superstars’ junior helpers, said that while the kids had a lot of fun, she had a great time as well. 

“I like helping kids solve problems, and that’s what you do during Math Superstars,” Rosa said. “It was very entertaining watching fourth graders try to build a tower out of index cards.” 

The decision to host Math Superstars on Halloween did pose some challenges with schools having scheduling conflicts. Despite the obstacles, the event brought together students from different schools and immersed them in the world of mathematics. 

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