The Waterford Lower School Math Club, held after school once per month, is open to all Class IV and V students. This club focuses on building upon math skills by solving challenging problems, most of which are taken from or based on past Math Olympiads competitions. Using these difficult problems allows students to work at a challenging level as well as experience problem-solving from actual contests.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that K-5 students who participate in after-school math clubs, reduced their math anxiety by roughly 50%. The authors suggest that by decoupling math from the classroom, kids see math as a social opportunity to play games and solve mysteries rather than a “paper-and-pencil test”. [Johns Hopkins University Lab of Child Development]
The open forum of sharing ideas and strategies, working in groups or individually, discussing solutions and methods, and having a faculty monitor progress, allows for a productive club filled with learning, social interaction and many “aha” moments. Any student who finishes the elementary-level problems with ease is pushed to tackle Middle School level problems.
Once per month, between November-March, The Lower School Math Club participates in the Math Olympiads contest. Last year nearly 170,000 students from 6,000 teams from all 50 states and roughly 30 countries participated in the Math Olympiads. This is a series of Math contests consisting of five problems each—25 problems annually. Each student completes these tests individually without any collaboration. During the 2017-2018 school year, one student solved 23 problems correctly, two solved 22, and two more solved 20—impressive results for such high difficulty!