Math club reaches out to Redwood Middle School

October 20, 2009 — by Albert Gu
Redwood Middle School

Club takes on duties beyond competitions that they hope will pay off in better prepared students coming to the high school.

The math club has created an outreach program into Redwood Middle School this year, removing the need for Redwood to hire extracurricular math coaches. Students from the high school now run the entire middle school extracurricular math program, with the help of parent volunteers.

“This is a good chance to train the middle school students a bit so that they will be more prepared when they come to the high school,” said club adviser and math teacher PJ Yim, who first came up with the idea for the outreach program. “It’s also a chance to let the student coaches work on their ability to express their ideas clearly and work on their social skills.”

Ten coaches go to Redwood every Tuesday after school to teach four classes of middle schoolers. The program started on Sept. 15 and runs for 25 weeks, ending in March.

Previously, different Redwood math extracurriculars, such as MathCounts and MOEMS, were divided into different programs, but this year all of the over 100 middle school students are being bundled into one year long program, which is led by Yim and the student coaches. Besides the teaching, the student coaches are also in charge of many logistics as well as coming up with lesson plans and creating tests and problem sets for homework.

“Although it takes a lot of work, I think teaching the middle schoolers is really rewarding,” said senior Angeline Lee. “I’m kind of wistful that I’m a senior and can’t continue next year. I would definitely do it again.”

Besides helping Redwood, the club has also made several changes that they hope will help prepare them for the team competitions. Although the club has many strong individuals, they lack an overall well-rounded team, said Yim.

The biggest changes this year have been the addition of regular meetings and practice sessions. In previous years, the club rarely held organized meetings and practices, instead only showing up whenever there was a contest. This year, Yim has helped drive changes, which include weekly meetings during lunch on Mondays and practices on Fridays after school. The practices are largely led by the more experienced members and are aimed at helping interested students improve their skills for math contests.

“I like helping people and trying to help them gain more interest in the subject,” said junior Amol Aggarwal, who is in charge of preparing material for the students to practice.

The club membership process has also been revised. Students must now plan ahead and pay for all contests and competitions, including the popular AMC 10 and AMC 12 tests, by Oct. 16. By making students commit early, the club has also had an influx of members; while last year they had less then 10 regular members, every meeting this year has had more than 20 people attend.

With the addition of continual practice and Redwood volunteering, the math club has a lot more on its hands than they did in the past. As a result, the students are all improving quickly, and the club is experiencing growth. They are currently preparing for the AMC tests as well as for local competitions, the first of which will take place in January.

2 views this week