Student Wins National Math Award

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Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor student won the Gold Medal in a national math competition geared toward students in grades 4-6. The student studies in a small group with a math resource teacher, and receives additional instruction at the school from a University of Michigan math professor who voluntarily leads a weekly Math Olympiad club.

Leo Fried, a fourth grader at the Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor (HDS), won the Gold Medal in a national math competition geared toward students in grades 4-6. A Gold Medal is given to those who score in the top 2% of the country. Leo has been studying math at HDS in a small group tutorial geared toward his level of math understanding and achievement. Leo also participates in a weekly lunch-time Math Olympiad club run by HDS parent volunteer Martin Strauss. Strauss is Associate Professor of Mathematics and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. Strauss also organized a Sciencepalooza weekend at the Hands-On Museum. At a school assembly where the gold trophy was presented, recognition was also given to all 16 students who participated in the Math Olympiad. Special recognition was given to two additional fourth grade students, Sam Greenberg and Zach Rochman, who scored in the top 50% of the nation. One second grader, Nathan Strauss, son of instructor of Martin Strauss, missed this distinction by one point.

“The students are learning creative out-of-the-box techniques for solving problems,” says Strauss. “We stimulate enthusiasm and a love for mathematics, but also strengthen mathematical intuition,” he explains. “The goal is for students to have a variety of strategies in their repertoire that can be used to understand and solve a variety of mathematical problems,” says math teacher, Janice Lieberman. “We also encourage students to look for patterns in problem-solving strategies that can be repeated,” she added.

“I love finding patterns in things around me,” says Fried, “even in the carpets, clothes and window arrangements.” “Math is useful,” he continued. “If you have to build something round, you need to know the circumference, and you need to know how to transform the circumference into the diameter, radius, and pi. You also need to know the area of a building.” As to why he loves math, Fried answers, “I get a sense of completion, and know that I have contributed to solving a problem.” When he is not in school or solving math problems, Leo is playing football, basketball, baseball, or soccer. “Anything competitive,” he says.

Leo Fried is the son of Aaron Fried and Dahlia Weinman. Aaron is Vice President and Actuary at MetLife. Dahlia is a cake designer and sugar artist.

The math competition won by Fried was sponsored by Math Olympiad, a non-profit organization that supports math education in schools by encouraging parents to organize Math Olympiad clubs.

Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor is a K-5 private school that ranks in the 99% on standardized tests because of the attention to individual needs and an emphasis on learning in small study groups. A few openings remain for the 2011-2012 academic year. Private tours can be arranged by calling the school at 734-971-4633. Open Houses and Tours for those interested in the 2012-2013 academic year are scheduled for Tuesday, November 15th (9 am), Monday, December 5th (7 pm), January 12th (9 am), and Tuesday, January 24th (7 pm).

More information about Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor can be found at


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Dina Shtull

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