On Saturday, March 12, over 70 Grade 7-10 students from schools around the province arrived bright and early to the University of Saskatchewan to participate in this year’s installment of the Saskatchewan Math Challenge, a provincial math challenge co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Math Teachers’ Society and the University of Saskatchewan. This year, the Math Challenge was also assisted by generous support from the University of Saskatchewan Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Participating students competed as teams of 3 to 5 in solving problems, enrolled in one of two levels: Grade 7-8 and Grade 9-10. In the morning, while the Grade 7-8 students worked at a variety of stations where they used hands-on materials to solve diverse mathematical problems with their teams, the Grade 9-10 students worked on two group exams. As the students worked together to solve the given problems, laughter, cheering, and friendly arguments were heard across the halls.
After refueling over lunch at Marquis Hall, the students were ready for some more mathematics. This time, the Grade 7-8 students wrote a group exam, followed by a high-energy, competitive, hands-on activity, while the Grade 9-10 students worked on a longer problem whose solution they presented to a panel of judges. The students’ creativity, communication, and problem-solving skills shone! The panel presentation was a new aspect of the Math Challenge, intended to give participants the opportunity to communicate mathematically in a new way and to make their creative ideas public.
The two Grade 7-8 teams with the lowest average times for completing the puzzles during the hands-on activity, as well as the two Grade 9-10 teams with the highest presentation scores (judged on mathematical accuracy, clarity, and creativity) had the opportunity to choose among some fantastic prizes donated by local businesses, including Amazing Stories, Puzzle Master, Dragon’s Den, King Me Boardgamery, and Broadway Cafe.
Based on both student and coach feedback and the excellent work submitted and presented by participating students, the day was a rousing success. We wish to thank all participants for their energy and enthusiasm, as well as their coaches for their commitment to their students: We recognize and value the time you spend to enrich your students’ mathematics learning. It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Math Challenge 2016 – already, we’re looking forward to next year’s installment! We hope to see you there.
A note to participants and coaches: Exam results will be mailed to your school within the next two weeks. If you do not receive your results, please contact Nat Banting at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or your students are looking for another great opportunity to do some collaborative mathematical problem solving, consider the Canadian Math Team Challenge, which will be held on April 7th at Walter Murray Collegiate Institute in Saskatoon. Students from Grades 9-12 can register for free in teams of 6; registration includes supper and some terrific prizes. To register or for more information, contact Amanda Culver at email@example.com.