Math Club vice president Richard Du presents a solution to a contest-style problem at the club’s weekly meeting on Wednesday.

There are countless clubs in Garneau, but academic clubs seem to be repeatedly tossed aside. The array of academic clubs in Garneau is one of the precious gems of our school.  Academic clubs provide students with enriching experiences to help them not only with their academics, but also with their extra-curricular involvements. One of these academic clubs in Garneau is the Math club.

Held in room 331, every Wednesday at lunch, members of the math clubs collectively solve challenging math problems from math competitions and gradually increase the difficulty level of the questions over the course of the year.

The club was created to challenge the minds of the young mathematician from all grade levels and to prepare them to participate in math competitions. According to secretary Frieda Rong,  it is “for everyone to experience a moment where they feel an urge to shout “eureka!” and run down the halls Archimedes-style”.

One general concern that arises amongst some students  is the accessibility of such club. There is  a pre-conceived notion that the Math club is a TOPS-only club and it is not meant for non-TOPS students. Popular to contrary belief, the Math club is indeed a very accessible club.

When asked about the accessibility issue, Jerry, the President of the club says “Math club is definitely not an only TOPS club, it is open and accessible to all Garneau students. I think the issue is that, some of the non-TOPS students will find the problems rather challenging, and so they think the club is only for TOPS students. However, I think this has to do with each individual’s math level, and not with the fact whether one is TOPS or non-TOPS.” . “Math does not discriminate, and we at Math Club welcome new members, regardless of whether they’re in TOPS or not.” says vice president Richard Du.

So does a student have to be a math pundit to join the Math club? The answer is simply no, all that is needed is a curious mind looking for a challenge.

If challenging mathematics tickles your fancy, I would recommend students to definitely join the Math club.

Math Club president Jerry Wu provides some encouragement to members as they work to solve an algebra problem.

A: Frieda (Secretary): Math club is about learning how to tackle competition-level math problems and gaining confidence with proof-based questions while making math as interesting and understandable as we can. So basically, finding x and proving y (bad pun).

Q: What is the purpose of the Math club?

A: Richard (Vice President): The purpose of Math Club is to foster interest in mathematics and encourage participation in math competitions. The skills you need to be successful in math competitions (such as deliberate practice and problem solving) are universal and can be used for mastery of any subject.

Q: What would you like to achieve through this club?

A: Frieda: For everyone to experience a moment where they feel an urge to shout “eureka!” and run down the halls Archimedes-style. (Just an urge.)

Q: What was the inspiration behind this club?

A: Jerry: I had great passion for math ever since I have memory. When I first walked into Garneau, I was eager to look for any currently existing math club where I can further devote my passion for math and meet other individuals with the same interest as I do. To my disappointment, I did not find one. This did not stop me from sharing my passion for math. In the second semester, I started MGCI math club, with the hope to gather other students who also have high interests in math. It wasn’t a great success at first, finding a teacher supervisor was the biggest problem for me, the meeting were not very organized either, the idea of having a math club seems weird to many people. However, all these did not stop me from doing what I want, from doing what I have great passion for. I continued math club, each year continue to improve the organization of math club. This year is the third year for MGCI math club, and it is a great success. I am not alone this time, the exec team contributed greatly to this success, they take initiative to help run this club, and have done their jobs far better than expected. Without the exec team, math club would not be what it is today. I would also like to give my special thanks to Mr. Gani, our new teacher supervisor, who is always there to support the club at the meetings; he had done much more than we thought we could ask for. Lasty and importantly, we would like to thank our members, for being supportive for our club because they are the essence for math club!

Q: What kind of math do you cover as a club? Just competition questions or homework too?

A: Jerry: Since this is a math enrichment club, the problems covered will mostly be competition questions. On every topic, we do start easy, at the same level of higher-grade homework questions, and then gradually increase the difficulty, from the intermediate contest level to the challenging contest level.

Q: What is the general schedule of the club? What can they expect in each session? Is there a structured agenda?

A: Jerry: There is a monthly structure to this club. Each month, we focus on a single topic in math, for example, in October, we are doing algebra. We are doing this because we find members are able to take in more knowledge when we focus on a topic consistently.

For each topic, math club’s structure goes like this:

Week 1 – Lecture

Week 2 – Problem-solving session (Discussion)

Week 3 – Mock Olympiads (Competition between teams)

Week 4 – Take up day (Take up problems in mock olympiads as well as problems in week 1 and 2)

Q: Do you have any message to any students that may be curious or eager to join the club?

Jerry: They are more than welcome to join this club. In fact, for those students who are hesitant and unsure of whether this club is right for them, they are encouraged to come to our club for one or two meetings and then make their decisions.

Frieda: Feel free to come to a meeting! We run Wednesdays during lunch in room 331. And don’t hesitate to ask any questions.