i2 2023-2024 Project Idea: Math Genies

Leah Zheng and I are developing a math tutoring program to help middle schoolers affected by COVID-19’s educational challenges. Our focus is Holy Name School’s 6th to 8th graders. We aim to connect Sacred Heart Cathedral high schoolers with these younger students, addressing pandemic-induced academic setbacks. Early math learning forms crucial problem-solving skills. With over a year of distance learning, many lacked resources and motivation to grasp these foundational math concepts fully.

This program will provide extra support for students struggling in math due to the pandemic’s impact on education. 

Leah and I noticed the problem when we realized our differing math education in grade school. I went to Holy Name and had the chance to study advanced math in middle school, leading me to grasp algebra, trigonometry, and geometry by 8th grade. This prepared me for Advanced Pre Calculus at Sacred Heart Cathedral, and I’m now in AP Calculus BC as a junior. In contrast, Leah’s school had a slower-paced curriculum and lacked resources during the pandemic. As a result, she spent her freshman year catching up on foundational math.

Despite our differences, we recognized that having peers for homework help and study sessions was crucial for excelling in math. We aim to offer support to students facing tough math courses or lacking academic help from their families, aiming to help them thrive.

Math serves as a universal language crucial across various subjects, especially in STEM fields. A robust math foundation is key, as without it, some might perceive math as “impossible” due to a perceived lack of innate talent rather than recognizing the role of effort and practice. This mindset can deter individuals from pursuing careers in math or STEM. Yet, in a tech-driven world, STEM knowledge, with math at its core, is vital for understanding our world, solving problems, and generating innovative ideas. Leah and I believe that all students should have access to adequate math resources that enable all students to explore their passions without limiting themselves based on perceived limitations.

Currently, our main challenge is scheduling meetings with all participants from SHC and Holy Name. So far, both school communities have provided significant support, and we’re excited to kick off this project in the spring!