CCA Previews ’18: Mathematics Club

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By Ang Ben Xuan (18S06S), Chairperson, Li Anqi (18S06S), Vice-Chairperson, and Lu Xuanchun (18S06S), Secretary

Hello and welcome to “Ask the Math Club!”, an annual column where the EXCO of the Math Club will answer your (hypothetical) questions! This year’s columnists are:

Secretary: Lu Xuanchun

Vice-Chairperson: Li Anqi

Chairperson: Ang Ben Xuan

Without further ado, let’s begin!

What is the Math Club?

AQ: Short answer would be a place for you to unwind with math after a tiring day’s work. Long answer would be a place where you get to be exposed to competition math or generally fun math that is out of the school syllabus — so that you can get a taste of the enigma that is the field of math.

The Year 5s (soon to be Year 6s) of the Mathematics Club, minus a few people

Wow, that sounds really cool! Give me more details!

BX: Math Club sessions are held once a week, typically on Tuesdays from 4.30 to 6.30pm. (This timing could change depending on your timetables!) What’s interesting is that most sessions are conducted by the EXCO ourselves! We prepare sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from Geometry to Combinatorial Games. The EXCO is even trying to learn some origami…

What are CCA sessions like?

BX: Sometimes we have sessions on Olympiad Math, where we teach techniques to solve fun and challenging problems. Other times we conduct buzzer quizzes among the members!

AQ: And sometimes we do super fun things like play (combinatorial) games! This is when you can put your game skills to the test, and in the process learn some cool mathematical techniques to analyse the games (to guarantee you win every time in the future, eh? Haha)

That sounds quite intense :O How hard is Math Club? Would I be able to cope with it?

XC: There are no pre-requisites for joining Math Club! Though we will cover competition math or higher math, we usually build upon the foundation of school math. Also, we usually plan our sessions assuming members have no particular knowledge about the subject matter. So just come in with an interest for the subject, and you’ll be fine!

Are there any auditions/selection tests?

XC: Nope.

AQ: What a relief, amirite?

BX: We do have a “trial session” on 23 January, so do come down to have a good time and meet some of your future CCA mates!

Is Math Club full of nerds?

XC: Yes and no. We are definitely more interested in Math than most other people, and sometimes can come across as being nerdy, but we are not all nerds. Quite a few of our members actually have a much more colourful life outside Math Club. Of course, there are also people like the three ExCo members, who are probably stuck with mathematics forever.

AQ: I’d lean towards “no”. Firstly, stereotyping is bad as your GP tutor would likely discuss with you during the social issues pack. And, as mentioned previously, our session is only two hours long! Many of our members have pretty interesting lives both in and out of the club ;)

What events does Math Club have?

XC: There’s RMCCC (no one remembers what it stands for) during the March holidays, which is essentially a combined camp with RI and RGS where we do fun stuff together. Once every two years, we will also have this event called Eureka where we conduct an amazing-race styled competition with other societies for secondary school students.

BX: Throughout the year, we also get the chance to take part in several math competitions, like the Shanghai TI Cup, the American Mathematics Contest, and of course the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad in June, where most of our members take the opportunity to show off test their skills and have fun! You can also look forward to a learning journey to NUS where you can learn about the relevance and applications of mathematics!

Year 6s having fun at the NUS Department of Mathematics

Given that y e^y = (x – 5y)^3, find dy/dx.

XC: By inspection, it is [3(x – 5y)^2]/[e^y + y e^y + 15(x – 5y)^2]. Alternatively, use Wolfram Alpha.

AQ: Aiyo it’s just implicit.

BX: The d’s cancel out, so it’s just y/x.

What kind of student would enjoy being in Math Club?

XC: Anyone interested in mathematics and enjoys challenging himself or herself mentally.

AQ: Tbh anyone with an interest in learning about cool math stuff.

BX: Math Club is pretty chill, so if you like that sort of thing then you should fit right in!

Q: What’s the best part about Math Club?

AQ: All the inside jokes we have HAHA

XC: All the oral quizzes!

BX: The friends we make and the fun we have together :)

That’s all for this column! Thank you for reading all the way through, and we hope to see you soon!

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