Ben Weinberg had not heard of competition math prior to his arrival at Williston. Enter Steven Wang ’19, US Math Olympiad summer program qualifier, and Josh Seamon, Math Team Coach and founder of the Whitaker-Bement Girls In Mathematics Competition. Weinberg had the opportunity to watch Steven and Mr. Seamon contribute in big ways to the competition math community.
Due to the transition to remote learning for the spring trimester, Weinberg started making YouTube videos that covered concepts he explained in class. Using the built-in screen recording feature on his Microsoft Surface, Weinberg found it surprisingly easy to upload content of himself explaining and solving problems. Little did he know, this experience would play a role in the creation of his budding YouTube channel: WhyMath.
Over the summer of 2020, he was looking for a project to take on that would complement his work in the classroom the following year. He had a number of ideas but ultimately settled on posting video solutions of AMC 10 problems to YouTube. The AMC (American Math Competition) 10 is a nationwide mathematics exam that is taken by roughly 350,000 students each year. The problems on the AMC 10 require creative problem solving and include some topics traditionally learned in high school like algebra and geometry, but also include problems requiring knowledge of counting, probability, and number theory, which are not as common across high school curricula.
Weinberg was interested in pursuing this project because he thought the problems were interesting and he noticed that students studied for the AMC by attempting practice problems and checking their answers on artofproblemsolving.com. Anyone can post solutions to problems on this website as it has an open source wiki page dedicated to AMC problems and solutions. Weinberg realized that almost all solutions posted were typed solutions, and he figured that some people might prefer watching a video over reading a typed solution. A few people had started posting video solutions to problems, but it was not nearly as common as typed solutions.
Weinberg was pleasantly surprised that people found value in his videos early on, which motivated him to keep at it. Although his channel is still pretty small, Weinberg is proud of the effort he has put into it. He enjoys the process of helping motivated math students and that is where he finds most of the value. As for the future, he feels like he is just getting started and is excited about potential new ideas and opportunities that lie ahead.