US Math Students of the Trimester – Fall 2014

I am excited to announce a new award, the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester!


Each math faculty member was free to choose whichever student of theirs they thought best exemplified what they are looking for in a model mathematics student. The official description of the award is as follows:

“Awarded to students who exemplify the math department’s core values of competence, confidence, and perseverance while helping their peers realize the relevance and importance of an exceptional mathematical education both for its beauty and for its practical application.”

The following students have been recognized as the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester for Fall 2014.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding mathematics students!

Natalia BaumNatalia Baum – Natalia is such a committed math student; she exemplifies the kind of diligence and perseverance I like to see! She is always the first person to ask a question or seek help when she doesn’t understand something, and she is committed to keeping up with all the material for each day’s class. Moreover, she is just such a wonderful young woman to have in the class – friendly, attentive, and always positive. She grasps concepts quickly, but more importantly, as soon as she doesn’t fully grasp something, she starts asking questions and seeking help. I so enjoy teaching her.
Saul BlainSaul Blain – Saul has had a wonderful first trimester in Algebra II. He is a diligent worker who enjoys volunteering answers and being challenged. He has performed at the highest levels on tests and quizzes. His work is thorough, thoughtful and very accurate. Never flustered, Saul enjoys inferring previously learned concepts into new problems even if he is uncertain. He is a class leader in participation and brings a positive attitude to class each day!
Caroline BordenCaroline Borden – Caroline has been a very strong and consistent math student all trimester long. Caroline learns the material quickly and well. She has been nearly flawless on all of her different assessments.
Eric ChenEric Chen – Eric was a marvelous algebra II student. He quickly mastered the material we were learning in the class. He was a role-model student who always completed his in-class work along with his homework assignments. Eric frequently answered difficult questions during class, always helped his classmates, and came to class with a positive attitude.
Stephen GoldsmithStephen Goldsmith – Stephen has done a great job in this class – full of outstanding students. He struggled a bit at the beginning of the term, worked hard in class, came for extra help and really came into his own with the material.
Umi KeezingUmi Keezing – Umi is a truly dynamic student who not only deeply understands the material, but can explain it to her peers with ease. Additionally, I have been impressed by her ability to find creative solutions. She has a strong work ethic and dominates class without ever demanding attention.
Katie MurrayKatie Murray – She is one of the very few students to ever get 100% on a calculus exam.
Loren PoLoren Po – A statistician’s job is not an easy one! To be a good statistician, one must attend to the details while keeping in mind the larger context. Additionally, one must interpret numerical results and explain them in a way that makes sense to anyone. A beautiful graphic is lost without an articulate explanation of the pattern it shows. Loren has worked hard to understand sophisticated theories and methods and has demonstrated his ability to eloquently use the language of a statistician with his thoughtful explanations. What I appreciate so much about Loren is his willingness to help others understand difficult concepts. Keep up the good work!.
Erika SasakiErika Sasaki – Erika demonstrated the most hard working and diligent work ethic in my classes during the first trimester. She always asks questions that help the rest of the class gain a deeper understanding of the material while maintaining a positive attitude. It has been a pleasure working with Erika so far this year.
Emily YaegerEmily Yeager – Emily has shown the highest level of engagement with all the material. She is inquisitive and willing to tackle any problem. Emily has done an outstanding job mastering the material in Honors Algebra 2.
Cade ZawackiCade Zawacki – Never in my teaching career can I recall having a student achieve a 100% on just about every aspect of the course. Cade earned a legitimate 100 on each of the four assessments he took in trimester 1. In terms of homework, although he did not do each problem perfectly the first time around, he showed clearly that he had taken the time to think carefully about each question and had used all of his resources to try to understand and solve the problem at hand. He made one small error on the final assessment but solved the bonus question, and did so in a unique way. What more can I say!
Molly ZawackiMolly Zawacki – Molly’s work in this class has been of the highest caliber. The programs she writes are concise, accurate and very well documented. Her program logic is well thought-out and shows the maturity of a seasoned programmer. Molly is enthusiastic, persistent, and greets each class with a smile!


Past students of the trimester can be found right here: Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

Orlee’s Solution Gets Posted by Drexel!

Every week, the Drexel University Math Forum web site poses a math question to their participants. Recently, the site asked their viewers to determine the measures of various angles formed by a pair of parallel lines and two transversals.

Orlee Marini-Rapoport, an eighth grade student in Kathryn Hill’s Geometry Honors class, used what she had learned in class to solve the problem. Her solution was one of those chosen to appear on the website as an example of a well-reasoned answer to the problem. Orlee used her knowledge of the vertical angles theorem and angles formed by a transversal intersecting two parallel lines to prove her conjecture.

Well done, Orlee!

The problem Orlee solved
The problem Orlee solved


Orlee’s solution:

There will be 5 different degree measures represented.

This goal is to find the angles that must be congruent to one another.

First, because I know that vertical angles are congruent, I identified which angles were congruent to which other angles using that theorem.

7 is congruent to 9
8 is congruent to 10
12 is congruent to 14
11 is congruent to 13
2 is congruent to 5
1 is congruent to 4
3 is congruent to 6

Because alternate interior angles are congruent, 8 is also congruent to 6 and therefore the measures of 8, 6, 10, and 3 are all equal. Also, 4 is congruent to 11, so the measures of 4, 11, 1, and 13 are all congruent.

So all in all:

4 = 11 = 1 = 13
8 = 6 = 3 = 10
7 = 9
12 = 14
2 = 5

The transversals aren’t parallel so there are no corresponding angles that could be congruent. (The measure of Angle 1 + the measure of Angle 2 is equals the measure of Angle 7, but no congruency there!)

After counting up the different measures, there are 5 different numbers represented.