The “T” in MATH is Team
March 2, 2023
Every Monday, the SPA math league meets for a thirty-minute practice during tutorial. They work through problems while being coached by math teacher Zach Sheffert. The groups compete individually and together every month on a range of mathematical topics from geometry to algebra to trigonometry. They comment against other schools in the Minnesota area.
Meetings consist of practicing for the event that is an assignment to each student. Members get around a month’s advance notice of what tests they will be completing and are given time during practice to study.
“To determine which test goes to each person, we organize it in a chart. If someone is super strongly opinionated about what they want, they’ll usually take priority. And other than that, it’s just sort of given out and since people have a month to prepare after what test they know they have a lot of time to learn or practice the topic,” said junior Bridget Keel, a long-time member of the SPA math league who has won awards for her efforts in the past.
Tests are divided into four sections: A, B, C and D. Each section covers a different math category, and each member of the eight-person team takes two of the four tests. This way, it’s evenly split where four people take each test. SPA currently has two teams of 8: one Varsity and one JV team. The Varsity team is the scoring team, and each individual has a shot in entering the Varsity team if they continuously perform well in meets.
Math team is like doing extra credit problems for no extra credit. It’s just fun.
— Connor Overgaard
Math League isn’t just an individual’s competition, it’s a team game. After each individual finishes their sections, thirty minutes are given for the whole team to work on one sheet together. This team event involves collaboration and communication. Recognizing each member’s strength and assigning individuals to each question.
“Team events are really cool because everyone attacks problems differently,” junior Connor Overgaard said. “Math team is like doing extra credit problems for no extra credit. It’s just fun.”
The team connects through their love of competition and mathematics. Keel said “I love that we all connect over something that we love, which is competitive math. It’s just one of my favorite topics made into an extracurricular activity.”
Everyone is welcome to Math League. It’s sometimes described as competitive and intensive, but it’s desired as good fun.
“We love to have all sorts of people, like whoever wants to join our meeting. We’re pretty welcoming in terms of helping people get situated. It is competitive though, in terms of scoring. It’s also competitive in terms of names and places, but I think it’s a friendly competitive nature between us,” said Keel, who cleared that members aren’t required to attend every practice.
The next meeting will be during Monday’s tutorial in upper Schilling, where they will be preparing for their state meet.