Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover: The Subtle Appeals of Math

Yash Permalla ‘22
EE Staff Writer

Math tends to elicit moans and groans from plenty of people. Geometry, conics, and integration do not seem like exactly the most intriguing topics at face value. However, Mrs. Capobianco, a member of the THS Math Department, is hoping to change the public perspective with the introduction of a math team to Trumbull High School.

Full of enthusiasm, Mrs. Capobianco remarked, “Manan Manchanda asked that the program get started, since he participated in Mathcounts, and wanted a similar program in the high school. I loved the idea, because I love math! Math is awesome.”

The math team participates in the Fairfield County Math League, a countywide competition consisting of teams from twenty-seven public and private high schools. Each school sends an “A-team” made up of of six students. Only three seniors at most are allowed on an A-team, and there must be at least one sophomore or freshman. Other students can be sent to the competition as the “B-team”, although their scores aren’t counted for the school. The competition is broken up into seven rounds, consisting of six individual rounds and one team round.

Each individual round contains three problems, and caters to a specific area of math. These topics include anything from statistics and pre-algebra to conics and trigonometric expressions. The individual rounds last ten minutes and each student on the team chooses three of the individual rounds to compete in. This ensures that everyone competes at a level they are familiar with. Afterwards, the team round is conducted. This is the portion of the competition where everyone on the team works together to solve six problems covering all of the topics from the individual rounds. This occurs over the span of ten minutes.
Six matches take place at Wilton High School each year, with each match occurring on the first Wednesday of the month from October through March.

“We’ve already participated in a meet at Wilton, and we’re planning on doing another meet in January,” Mrs. Capobianco notes.

Many of the members of the math team seem to share Mrs. Capobianco’s passion for math, and enjoy the unique experience of competitive math. One student mentions that, “The competition is very welcoming and relaxed, no one feels excluded. The kind of questions involved are more interesting and less direct, sort of like a puzzle.” Everyone can agree that creativity is a key aspect of discovering solutions to these intricate problems.

Nick Castaldo, another member of the team, emphasizes the exposure math team gives to its members, and comments, “I love math, I’ve realized it since freshman year, I’ve always pushed myself and strived to take harder classes, and the math club can hopefully give others that same opportunity.”

Other students on the team highlighted this as well, some wishing that an opportunity like this had existed in years past. For many students, joining the math team enabled them to rediscover math in a new light, and appreciate it more.
The THS math team has depth, and is appreciated by many within the club for the unique opportunities, exposure to creative methods and ideas, and its welcoming environment and atmosphere.
“We always appreciate new members,” says Mrs. Capobianco. The club meets on Tuesdays in room C28.

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