Nine Stuyvesant students won medals in the third and final round of the New York City Math Fair, which took place on Sunday, April 2, at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Two won gold, three earned silver and the remaining four left with bronze
The Math Fair is a competition between New York City high school students in which participants research mathematical concepts and theories. They compile their research into diagrams and papers, which they subsequently assemble into posters, and present orally to the Math Fair judges. The students are evaluated by teachers at New York City high schools based on their presentation and the thoroughness of their research.
Hundreds of students from New York City enter the preliminary round of the Math Fair, in which judges review an abstract of each student’s work. In the second round, which this year included 31 Stuyvesant students, participants are put in small groups in which they present to each other and to a panel of three judges. After a brief question and answer session and deliberations, the judges decide whether or not the presenter will proceed to the final round, in which they repeat their presentations with any changes or additions they have made. The judges reveal their decision to the entire group after the presentation.
“After my ten-minute presentation they kicked us out of the room. When they came back, they told us [the results],” said sophomore
and Math Fair finalist Shmuel Barkan, who researched game theory, a field of math used in social science and economics. However, Barkan was not able to attend the final round of competition, and therefore did not receive a medal.
At the end of the round, the judges decide which medal to award each participant. “Once you get to the [final] round, you are guaranteed to get either a bronze, a silver or a gold medal,” math teacher and Math Fair judge Gary Rubinstein said.
Participants from Stuyvesant consisted of freshman, sophomores, and juniors from the Math Research class, taught by Rubinstein, as well as students of the sophomore Honors Algebra II and Trigonometry classes, taught by Oana Pascu and Sebastian Stoenescu. Students in these classes were mandated to submit projects to the preliminary rounds of Math Fair. Between the rounds, which are about one month apart, students also “work a little bit more on the paper if there are different or new results they’ve achieved,” Stoenescu said.
Students were free to choose any topic that interested them, and almost all research was conducted outside of class. “Most of the work was on our own, but [teachers] give us feedback on our presentations,” sophomore and silver medal recipient Kevin Wan said.
The Math Fair served not just as a competition between students, but also, as the name suggests, as a fair for students to share with each other what they have learned
. “It’s interesting. You get to meet new people, hear about topics in math,” said Wan, who made a presentation on mass point geometry, which involves applying physical concepts involving mass to solve geometric problems. “I knew a little about [my topic] before, but [the Math Fair presented] an opportunity to really find out about it. It was a lot of fun.”