MathFest: Making Math and Music Fun

High school students around the Mahoning Valley geared up for the 10th Annual MathFest this October at Youngstown State University. For the special 10th year anniversary,

MathFest Students

A group of high school students at MathFest

“Calculus: The Musical,” provided by the College of STEM and the YSU Student Government, preformed for the students and faculty.

Dr. Angela Spalsbury, associate professor of Mathematics and Statistics, has organized YSU MathFest for the last ten years. The event requires a great amount of organization and preparation, consisting of a mixed competition, the Challenge of Champions, and different student- and faculty-led workshops.

The mixed competition challenges all students to get to know each other while they are given an introduction into calculus. Students from different schools are then broken up into teams of four and given math “brain teasers.” Prizes are given at the end of the day to the winning teams.

Challenge of the Champions is a competition for students who wish to have their mathematical ability put to the test. Students have to ask to be put into this competition; it is similar to the American Mathematics Contest.

There is also a statistics poster competition, where participants are judged on two or more statistical graphs that summarize a set of data. The posters are judged by a committee of statisticians and are awarded prizes based on the creativity, clarity, appropriateness, and overall impact of the poster.

Calculus: The Musical

The students, after the mixed competition and the Challenge of Champions, were allowed to choose two of 16 workshops led by student volunteers and faculty. There was a wide range of topics from math in sports to biomedical research math.

At the end of the day, students and faculty gathered for “Calculus: The Musical.” The musical put mathematical concepts like differentials and limits to songs by Aretha Franklin, the Beatles and many more. The lively actors unveil calculus concepts for the students,who get to learn while having fun with the music and audience interaction.

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