Math Man! The heart of MathMas

By Maggie O'Hara, Co-Editor In-Chief

What’s that? The distant sound of algebraic equations harmonizing together in a beautiful melody. A flash of a hot pink cape in the hallway. Could it be? The beloved and highly anticipated tradition is finally making its return. MathMas is right around the corner, and Math Man himself is here to spread joy to Terrace’s math classes.

While MathMas caroling is a tradition that preceded Math Man, started in December 2019 by math teacher Daniel Johnston, Math Man has taken over the role since in leading Johnston’s classes to sing math renditions of popular Christmas songs.

This year, MathMas caroling will take place on Friday, Dec. 16, ending the year on a jolly note before students are let out for winter break. During each of their class periods, Johnston’s students will visit other math classes around Terrace and sing their original MathMas carols to them, brightening the day of everyone involved.

“It’s a way to spread MathMas cheer, get people excited about math and do something silly and fun,” Math Man said.

The process of writing the carols is done in Johnston’s classrooms during the weeks leading up to MathMas. Together, the students go through multiple rounds of voting to choose which Christmas carols to mathify, and then come up with the lyrics.

“The biggest part is for the students to be involved,” Math Man said. “Somehow [the lyrics] get put together into a cohesive song. Either Mr. Johnston does that, or I use my superpowers to meld the lyrics together, or students help.”

When he’s not soaring through the halls of Terrace on the occasional half day or singing MathMas carols, Math Man stays busy with hero work. From answering the math hotline to grading exit tickets, there’s always work to be done in the math world.

“There’s a huge market out there for superheroes. Mostly math-related, mostly high school-related,” Math Man said. “There’s other things out there in the world, people need to have their days saved.”

Since December 2020, Math Man’s journey has been documented on YouTube, with productions from music videos constructed from full math a cappella to elaborate tales of defeating supervillains. So far, there have been eight episodes of Math Man, with a ninth currently in the works that’s almost ready to premiere. 

No matter what he’s doing, from caroling to saving the day, Math Man inspires joy in Terrace’s community.

“Everybody needs a pick-me-up every once in a while. I might not be your favorite superhero and that’s fine, there’s lots of other great heroes out there, but we all need a little bit of encouragement along the way and to make math more fun for more people, more enjoyable and more understandable,” Math Man said.

Math Man episode 9 is out NOW!