Northbrook Junior High wins Woodlands Academy Mathalon

After last year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart hosted its ninth annual Mathalon event Oct. 2. In all, two dozen 7th- and 8th-grade girls from five area schools spent a Saturday morning putting their math skills to the test in creative, problem-solving ways at the all-girls college-prep high school in Lake Forest. 

The one team from Northbrook Junior High won first-place honors upon completion of the eight-event competition. Finishing in second place this year was Team 2 from St. Gilbert’s School in Grayslake followed by Team 1 from St. Patrick’s School in Wadsworth placing third. These teams took home a plaque along with medals for each of its members commemorating their achievements.    

Also participating in this year’s Woodlands Academy Mathalon were East Lake Academy in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Middle School.

According to Rocco Gargiulo, Woodlands Academy principal and mathematics teacher, there were no rote paper and pencil drills in this competition. Teams of three middle school girls (one or two from each school) tackled a variety of fun and engaging mathematical tasks such as building, counting, drawing, estimating, folding and hypothesizing, with Woodlands students serving as their guides and cheerleaders.

“These events were hands-on cooperative activities that engaged students to use mathematics in creative, problem-solving ways,” Gargiulo said. “The events involved mathematical computation, estimation, visual/spatial reasoning, logic and the use of technology.”

Woodlands Academy is an independent Catholic day-and-boarding high school for young women in grades nine through 12 that promotes academic, artistic and athletic excellence along with global awareness, social responsibility and strong faith.

According to recent research cited by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, all-girls' schools lead the way in graduating women who become our nation's scientists, doctors, engineers, designers and inventors. It also shows that girls' school graduates are more likely to consider majoring in math, science and technology and are more likely to consider engineering careers than girls who attend coed schools.