It’s a game of inches.
The adage has been applied to sports for decades, and it’s true: contests across the globe are decided by a small margin every day. In fact, dozens of math concepts can be applied to any given moment in a sporting event.
Lauren Hall ’19 is hoping to use this to her advantage in developing an engaging math curriculum for high school students and college freshmen.
Hall, a dual mathematics and secondary educations major from Malvern, Pennsylvania, is taking on the project as part of SJU’s Summer Scholars Program. Under the mentorship of Tetyana Berezovski, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics and director of the graduate program in secondary mathematics education, Hall is designing a challenging lesson plan based on the mathematics of volleyball.
“We will take snapshots of game action, particularly passing, and run it through dynamic geometry software to map out angles and distances,” Hall explains. “From there, we can formulate age-appropriate problems for students to solve — calculating time, speed, force and so on.”
A member of SJU’s women’s club volleyball team, Hall hopes connecting the sport to math will help students to more readily understand concepts.
“I believe that an interesting, comprehensive and challenging curriculum is paramount to better engaging and enriching students as they progress with mathematics,” she says.
Berezovski praises Hall’s breadth of expertise, saying “Laura’s background in calculus and physics is fundamental for mathematical modeling, and her extensive experience in volleyball form two major domains of knowledge needed for this project.”
Hall has earned a place on the Dean’s List in each of her semesters at Saint Joseph’s. Outside the classroom, she serves as a resident assistant and is a member of Sigma Zeta, the national Science and Mathematics Honor Society. She says that the Summer Scholars Program allows her to work at her own pace.
“The program allows you a more flexible approach to learning,” she says. “If you understand a concept quickly, you can move right on to something more advanced. By the same token, if something takes more time to study, you can do exactly that. Learning is tailored to you as an individual.”
Project Title: Bring Mathematics to Life in the Sport of Volleyball
Mentor: Tetyana Berezowski, Ph.D.
Hometown: Malvern, PA