With the date of a middle school math competition on the calendar, the Unity Math Club was formed. Students interested in participating in the contest wanted to give their best effort through practice and strategy sharing. Meeting twice a week, the group of middle school students worked with math teacher Jeannette Hainzl to attempt group challenges and individual problems.  Through the meetings, they taught each other several-problem solving strategies.


“The iLearn Math Contest is an event organized by iLearn Schools, Inc., and New Jersey Charter School Association. It aims to promote interest and enthusiasm for mathematics among secondary school students. Students are expected to work on challenging and fun mathematics problems along with hands-on tasks on different rounds of the contest. The organization committee works closely with the advisory board to provide the participants an unforgettable experience. Since its launch in 2010, over 1000 students participated in the Math Contest. Currently, in its tenth year, the contest was held on November 2, 2019 at Princeton University. (https://ilearnschools.org/events/math-contest)”


There were 26 schools with over 100 students enrolled in grades 6-8 who participated in iLearn Schools Math Contest this year. Unity’s Math Club had seven participants, with a team led by student Helen Sheffield.  The team placed 7th overall in the competition, an outstanding performance for its first contest! Team member Ben Harter represented Unity in the Grand Final. Through an intense set of questions, solved onstage in front of students, coaches and parents, Ben battled through 4 rounds of head-to-head competition to settle 3rd and 4th place.  “This was the most excited I’ve ever been watching students complete math problems.”, said Jeannette.


In addition to the math contest, student Graham Hatley took the stage in a math based theatrical performance.  He dazzled the crowd with a set of math puns and jokes. Overall, it was a wonderful experience for the students who are looking forward to continuing and expanding the club through the remainder of the school year.