Your middle schooler has expressed an interest in joining the math team. That’s great! Math teams provide a wonderful opportunity for students to compete and bond with their peers over a common love of numbers. But where do you begin? A step-by-step guide to forming a middle school math team is provided below.
Math teams usually consist of 4-6 students, depending on the size of the school. The first step is to find other students who are also interested in joining the team.
Ask around in class or put up a sign-up sheet in the hallway outside of the math classroom. Once you have a list of potential team members, set up a meeting so everyone can get to know each other. This is also a good time to decide on a team name; bonus points if it’s funny!
Some examples of math team names are:
1. Greater Than Zero
2. The Calc-oholics
4. Three Mathsketeers
5. Math Pi-rates
6. We’re Odd
Find a coach or two for your middle school math team
The next step is to find a coach. This can be any adult at the school who is willing to volunteer their time, such as a teacher, parent, or even an older student.
If you can’t find someone who’s willing to commit to being the head coach, see if there are any adults and/or parents who would be willing to help out on an as-needed or part-time basis.
Once you have your team assembled and your coach(es) lined up, it’s time to start practicing! Unless your school already has an established math team program, you’ll likely need to come up with your own practice schedule and materials.
Meeting at least 2-3 times a week is essential for success; learning is a group effort; and the whole reason for a team atmosphere is support and friendship that come from doing something you are all passionate about.
A good way to start is by looking online for sample math test questions or previous year’s state competition tests. There are also plenty of books with practice questions available at most bookstores or libraries.
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Look for Competitions to participate in
Ask your principal, guidance councillor or vice principal to help you find good middle school math team competitions to attend throughout the year. This will give your team goals and even more purpose. You may even want to contact your competition schools and practice together as you prepare for each competition.
Watch You Tube videos of typical middle school math competitions to get a feel for what they are like, and what to expect. Your team will feel less anxious if they know what the format and expectations are going to be like.
Program Cuber17 gives us a look into his middle school math competition experience and requirements in this 7 minute video:
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Joining the math team is a great way for middle schoolers to have fun and bond with their peers over a shared love of numbers. Creating one when your school does not have one is very satisfying, as there is a need you are attending to by serving others along with your own passion.
By following the steps outlined above, you can easily start your own math team at school. All you need is a group of interested students, one or two adult coaches, and some practice equipment. Before you know it, your team will be ready to compete in meets and represent your school!