CCA Previews ’20: Mathematics Society

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By David Toh (20S06J), Vice-Chairperson and Tan Xu Chen (20S06J), Secretary

Math: The only subject that counts.

Have you ever wondered about that budding interest in math you once had at a young age, only to be quashed by the stresses of school life? Do you enjoy solving topology puzzles or speed-solving Sudokus, but find yourself with no time to indulge in either? Or are you a brainiac with an eye for the messiest of geometry diagrams and the wackiest of combinatorial games?

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Figure 1: Example of an (easy) Sudoku.

Whichever you are, you’ve come to the right place!

Math Club is a tight-knit, close group of individuals brought together by our passion for mathematics and anything math-related. Don’t worry, we have no pre-requisites for joining—all you need is an inquisitive mind, an unquenchable curiosity and a penchant for having your mind blown!

What kind of math do we do?

Here at Math Club, the Exco conducts weekly sessions on a wide variety of math-related topics. Our members get to request topics, and even hold their own sessions too! These include:

  • Olympiad math / problem-solving—for those who love solving any and every kind of math problem;
  • Pure math—for those into more “chim”, abstract concepts such as knot theory, statistical analysis, differential geometry or cutting pizzas in weird ways;
  • Fun math—including but not limited to puzzles, paradoxes, games, logic, Kahoot, troll questions, and more!

Apart from our regular sessions, we also have a range of activities throughout the year! Members get to take part in competitions such as the Shanghai TI Cup, the Singapore Math Olympiad (SMO), and the American Math Olympiad (AMC1). We also conduct a few “open” training sessions closer to SMO dates covering competition content and strategies. There’ll also be club camp(s), games and much more to come—as a student-run club, we have free rein to organise intra-CCA and inter-CCA events!

Well… okay, but this sounds a bit daunting…

Fret not, for there are really no pre-requisites for being part of our club! Even though some of the content we cover may be more advanced, we always take into account our members’ feedback and plan sessions assuming no prior knowledge required. If you ever find yourself befuddled by a concept, rest assured that the rest of the members probably feel that way too! We always try our best to make sure every member is engaged and having the most fun-filled two hours of their life (well, maybe not, but their week nonetheless).

As an illustration, here’s a teaser that you may have seen before:

Carrie is given an m by n table. She realises that she can fit 100 coins of radius 2cm within the boundaries of the table, with all the coins laid flat and no overlap in between. Show that she can do the same with 400 coins of radius 1cm.

(Tip: you can’t fit 4 circles of radius 1 into 1 circle of radius 2 without overlap!)

Answer at the end of the article.

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Figure 2: An idealised table and coin.

What are the commitments?

We conduct sessions from 4.30pm to 6.30pm weekly on Tuesdays. We’re busy people too, and we know the pain of having to juggle PW, schoolwork and the plethora of activities we all have outside of RI. You don’t have to worry about not having enough time for your other CCA, or for catching up on your much-needed Econs homework—we’ve got you covered.

And that’s all we have to share! We’ll be having a trial session in [to be confirmed], when all Y5s are welcome to join in and take a peek. Do come down if this sounds like your cup of tea!

Solution to above problem:

Place the 100 coins of radius 2 first. Then shrink the table to a m2n2table, along with the coins inside it. Now, put four copies of this small table together :)


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