Strength in numbers

District title-winning math UIL team looks to return to winning ways


Carter Bryant

Math UIL team looks to continue their previous streak of district titles that was lost last year.

Anna Stockton, Staff Reporter

Their first event only gives them 10 minutes. Ten minutes to try and outsmart a room full of high- achieving competitors. Ten minutes to mentally move past the stress of their time limit. Ten minutes to solve 80 questions where every answer counts. Ten minutes to lose. Ten minutes to win. Whatever the result, it’s all up to them.

The math UIL team has won the district title every year for six years straight until their defeat last year. The team is looking for prospective members to rebuild the program and work towards taking back their district title.

“Math UIL is, in essence, mathematics sports,” junior Matthew Walters said. “It is where those interested in math improve skills in numeric processing and logic, and compete against opponents from surrounding areas to at the very least improve from where they began. The greatest hope for those in UIL math is to be the best at their event regionally.”

There are three separate events in math UIL–each with its own time limit, requirements, and number of questions. Each event covers a different subject and requires a proficiency in a certain category of mathematics.

“[The events are] number sense, calculator and general math,” math teacher Keith Christian said. “The number sense test is only a ten minute test, and they do as many of 80 problems as they can do in that ten minutes. They have to do all of those mentally, there’s no scratchwork. It’s just read the problem and write the answer. The calculator test is a 30 minute, 70 question test where they’re punching problems into their calculator as fast as they can go. The math test is a 40 minute test with 60 problems and they do as many of those as they can.”

Math UIL allows members the rare opportunity to apply the work done during practices towards a better understanding of their own math classes.

“A lot of it helps the students to see what they’ve done algebraically and how it can be applied numerically, and so I think sometimes it gives students connections to things that maybe they wouldn’t have connected to otherwise,” Christian said. “They can take what they’re getting in the competitions and they can apply it directly to what they’re doing in school.”

The team, who meets in Christian’s room at 4:20 p.m. every Monday, doesn’t require members to be exceedingly proficient in all areas of math. Members credit their coach with the ability to teach them the concepts that they don’t understand to ensure they reach their maximum competitive potential.

“Your math skills do not need to be absolutely extraordinary to participate in math UIL,” junior Brandon Su said. “If you need more practice in any math area, whether it be algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, or calculus, math UIL is a great way to improve your abilities in that subject. Math UIL is a great way to learn from Mr. Christian, who is our sponsor, our coach, and one of the most helpful and supportive math teachers in all of Lovejoy. “

The team hopes those interested in jointing will go to a practice to check it out.

“For those indecisive on whether to join or not, come and see what it is like for yourself,” Walters said. “If you like it, then join. We could use you.”