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Clairbourn Students Flex Their Math Muscles

Published on Monday, May 20, 2013 | 4:56 pm

Spring is the season where students in Mary Lyzenga’s middle school math classes flex their mental muscles to take on tests and competitions designed to prove their mettle as mathematicians. This year, the seventh grade accelerated math class participated in the annual Math Olympiads Program. They took a series of five exams during the year, which required them to solve unusual and difficult problems.


Last week, each student who participated received a certificate, and student Charles Bai received a trophy for having the highest cumulative score for the five tests. To hone their skills for this activity, seven of the students participated in twice-weekly math club lunchtime meetings, where they practiced solving unusual problems and learned to think creatively. Participants from Clairbourn included Ashley Vu, Xian Shively, Brennan Graves, Charles Bai, Spencer Zahabizadeh, Holden Fraser, Oren Wei, Andrew Cheng, Owen Timoner, Will Steele, Chris Myers, Richard Dong, Emily Su, and Chris Stamos. The Math Olympiads Program has member schools in 49 states as well as 25 foreign countries, and there are close to 5,000 participating schools.

Additionally, a group of these same seventh graders participated in the annual Don Bosco Math Competition for students up to eighth grade. The event was held at Don Bosco Tech on Saturday morning, April 27. The students had one hour to complete a 50 question test (no calculators allowed). Clairbourn students received an honorable mention for placing fourth among the 10 competing schools. The participants were Christopher Myers, Oren Wei, Owen Timoner, Emily Su, Ashley Vu, Andrew Cheng, and Charles Bai.

Sixth-graders also had a math adventure in mid-May when they took several field trips to area businesses to give their math studies practical context. The first stop on the field trip was Trader Joe’s at the corner of Rosemead Blvd. and Huntington Dr. where Store Manager Andy gave them a tour and talked to them about the math used in pricing and ordering products. The students received great information as well as a parting gift of snacks in a reusable bag. The next two business to display their math usage were law firms and included Littler Mendelson, where Clairbourn parent Tanja Darrow-Cole explained how math is used in corporate law, and Tucker Ellis where Clairbourn parent Bart Kessell talked about using math in calculating damages when one company sues another for loss of income. The final stop was Kendall Roclord’s “Unconventional Portrait Photography” studio in Pasadena. Mr. Roclord delighted the students with stories about his work, showed photographs, and explained the intricate use of math in achieving his photographic images. It was an exciting and educational day for the sixth grade students!

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