This rigorous, fourteen-hour competition is unlike any other high school competition in mathematics, pushing students to the limits of their math knowledge, analyzing data, researching unfamiliar problems, and testing their ability to work together as a team to come up with a solution to a multi-faceted and authentic problem using mathematical modeling. Seniors representing IHA, all members of the STEM@theheart program and Mu Alpha Theta honor society, included:
Kang Hyun Ryu’20
Sophia Scian'20 (Alternate)
This year's challenge required students to use mathematics to gain insight into a problem we face today: converting diesel gas to electric vehicles within the trucking industry. The Challenge: “Model a complete turnover from diesel to electric trucks; analyze infrastructure, economic, and environmental implications of such a conversion.”
Working to very specific standards, participating teams prepared a technical report of no more than twenty pages. Each report presented the problem and proposed a unique solution based on various mathematical models the teams developed. Team members provided a “sensitivity analysis,” exploring the strengths and weaknesses of their models, and explained what they learned.
Mrs. Liz Kearns, Mathematics Department chairperson and Mu Alpha Theta advisor, structured both teams to maximize the participants’ unique strengths and talents and coached them. Immaculate Heart Academy’s teams represented gifted mathematicians, researchers, writers, critical thinkers, and, of course, problem solvers. Each team worked independently for fourteen continuous hours analyzing data, doing cost/benefit analysis, and researching important elements of the problem. The challenge was all done under the pressure of strict time constraints and mandated guidelines.
“I am so proud of my students and all they have achieved,” Mrs. Kearns said. “I commend the team members for the courage and grit it took to compete against some of the tops schools and most talented math students in the country. I am always excited by the opportunity the challenge offers my students for growth.”