Competitions can motivate kids to perfect their individual skills and also work together as teams.
In the United States, one of the biggest is sponsored by the Mathematics Association of America (MAA). The MAA contests are ultimately used to select the United States Mathematics Olympic Team… and yes, there really is a math olympics! If you’ve never heard of it before, you might enjoy reading Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World’s Toughest Math Competition by Steve Olson.
The MAA offers several “American Mathematics Competitions.” These challenging, timed contests are given once a year. The AMC8, for 8th graders and youngers, is a multiple choice exam given in November. The AMC10/12 is a multiple choice exam for high school students administered in January. High scorers are invited to the AIME contest from which the USA math olympic team is selected.
The Math Olympiad consists of 5 contests of 5 problems each. Teams compete with other teams across the country. Team awards are given. Trophies, pins, and patches are also given for individual high scorers. There are also special acknowledgements given for national high scorers.
Whether or not they attend the chapter competition (which permits only 8 participants per school), any middle school student would benefit from participating in the MathCounts school program. Full of challenging problems, team work, and speed rounds, participation will strengthen students’ skills and confidence. With the emphasis on team and individual performance, speed rounds as well as thought provoking problems, and a focus on those challenging middle school years, this contest and materials is one of my favorites.
This fall middle school competition presents a series of challenges for creating and programming a robot with LEGO Mindstorms Robotic Invention 2.0. Teams are judged on a number of areas including programming, robot design, challenges met, team work, and a reasearch project. A different theme is presented each year. The 2004 challenges all related to helping a person with physical disabilties. Challenges included picking up glasses, putting a cd in, cleaning up the supper table, closing a gate, feeding the pets. In 2005, the challenges were based on ocean conservation.
AML has a series of contests for elementary through high school students. We use problems from previous years exams for practice; however, the math league does not permit homeschoolers to officially participate in competitions.
The Mandelbrot is a challenging competition for high school students. Be prepared for even your best students to be stumped at times! This contest will teach students to think, pause, think some more, and persevere. In addition to solving problems, students are expected to write mathematical proofs. Students are certainly challenged to think mathematically.
Bringing together America’s finest high school students, this meet is held at three college campuses across the country: Penn State, Univeristy of Iowa, University of Nevada, Los Vegas. Intense competitions include individual tests, relay rounds, team play, and power rounds. It’s a weekend of full of fun and focus.
USAMTS is a free mathematics contest open to all junior and senior high school students. There are four rounds each year, with five problems in each round. Problems are posted on the website four weeks before the solutions are due. Each round students are asked to submit solutions to at least two problems .
This is math-mom.com, the website built on our belief that learning is naturally fun. With the right expectation and approach, anyone can enjoy learning. But since each of us is unique, we each must find our own best way to learn. We know that we have found our way when learning is fun.
Here you will find books, products, and ideas that our family has used to make learning fun for each one of us. We hope that it encourages you to find your own way to have the fun of learning.