Math Olympiad is a math problem solving team comprised of GT/HGT 4th and 5th graders!
According to the Math Olympiad website, the goals of Math Olympiad are as follows:
- To stimulate enthusiasm and a love for Mathematics
- To introduce important Mathematical concepts
- To teach major strategies for problem solving
- To develop Mathematical flexibility in solving problems
- To strengthen Mathematical intuition
- To foster Mathematical creativity and ingenuity
- To provide for the satisfaction, joy, and thrill of meeting challenges
10/11 - Our team met for the first time and went over the basics...
What is Math Olympiad?
Why are we on the team?
What is/are our goal/s?
All students were given a list of mathematical terms they need to be familiar with throughout the year and ended with a sample problem - 1+2+3+4+5+6=3xN (Solve for N)
Students shared their strategies with each other (3 students shared their strategies out loud and each had a different approach - YEAH!) with a focus on creativity and thought process - SO much fun!
10/18- Our team worked HARD this week...the focus problems this week centered around logic and Pascal's Triangle. You could FEEL the excitement in the room....GOOD STUFF! :)
11/1 - Our team worked in three smaller groups through two challenging problems...
The number 6 has exactly four unique factors: 1,2,3 and 6. How many counting numbers less than 20 have an odd number of unique factors?
For the first half of the season, Team Alpha won 2/3 of their games.
For the second half of the season, they won 3 / 4 of their games.
If both halves of the season had the same number of games, what is the fewest possible number of wins that they have?
Lots of big ah-ha's around strategy, thinking the problem through completely as well as using our team members wisely - how can we reflect and make changes to our thinking based on the ideas of the others?
11/8 - We focused on a single problem that was started last week and we needed more time to work through...
The girls on the softball team are sharing a bin of fresh strawberries. If every girl has 5 whole strawberries, there are three left over. If, instead, the girls decided to share the strawberries evenly among themselves and their four coaches, and everyone takes 4 whole strawberries each, there are none left over. How many girls are on the softball team?
We started whole group with an "attack" of the word problem - what's important, what do we need to use/disregard and how do we start? Students worked in small groups or independently (based on their preferred learning style) for a while and then we shared out solutions and strategies. This was a tough one but I think the group, as a whole, is doing a nice job with taking risk, trial and error and oral explanation of their mental/written creative problem solving. Next week is our FIRST math competition - it will take place in my classroom during our normal work time. Results to come!
11/15 - This week, team members participated in their first Math Olympiad test! It consisted of five problems in a 30 minute time period. They had to tap into their creative problem solving brains and strategies to work through the challenge and it was a CHALLENGE. We will be going over the results and strategies when we return from Thanksgiving break but we will ALSO be talking about resiliency - when we feel that the work is really difficult, how do we react? How do we work through it - positive self talk, deep breaths, moving on to the next problem and coming back to the more difficult one later?
The team as a whole did an amazing job for the first round of competitions...I am very impressed how much healthy risk taking and commitment I watched over the course of our time together on Tuesday. Results will be posted on November 29th!
11/29 - The team met today, we went over the tests and we celebrated our top two finishers (so far) -
5th graders Lucas B and Bella R! We also had three 4th graders that were one away - Juliette R, Jacob C-C and Isobel E-S! Over the course of the competition, each student will earn one point for every correct answer and these points will accumulate over time. We talked a lot about how this was a new experience and many of them have NOT felt this level of difficulty in math before now....which is a GOOD thing! They won't be able to persevere, problem solve and get through frustration unless they FEEL it. Now, they are driven and ready....they were ALL able to celebrate the fact that they had strategies, some helpful and some not, but the more practice and problem solving we do as a team, the better we will get! Two examples from the first test are below... I am SO PROUD of their hard work - onward and upward!!
**What is the greatest multiple of 37 that has exactly 4 digits?**
**Terry is Sherry's mother. Terry's age and Sherry's age have the same digits, but in reverse order. In 13 years, Terry will be twice as old as Sherry. How old is Sherry now?**
12/6 - Our team met this week....and we talked creative problem solving! We focused on the problem above (Terry/Sherry problem) and saw/heard three students explain their thinking and strategies (three DIFFERENT approaches!) and took the opportunity for questions, clarifying our thinking (from both the three explaining as well as the the rest of the team!) and relating our work with each other. The thinking from this team is strong and creative and rigorous - SO AMAZING!
12/13 - Fourth graders on our team met this week (fifth graders had Family Life but worked on solving problems throughout the week in their classes) and tackled the most difficult problems (7 minute problems) in groups of three. They worked together, brainstormed, strategized together and were successful without any fifth grade support - IMPRESSIVE! Some of the questions asked were questions like "Where do we start?" and "How do we know we're right?" Two of the questions are below....super thinking this week! Next week...our next test!
***The sum of the digits of the number 789 is 24. How many 3-digit numbers have the sum of their digits
equal to 24 including 789?***
***Jimmy is filling up a pool using a large hose and a small hose. The large hose, working alone, could fill the pool in 3 hours. The small hose, working alone, could fill the pool in 5 hours. The small hose is turned on and allowed to run for an hour. Then the large hose is turned on and both run until the pool is full. How many hours did it take to fill the pool?***
12/20 - We had our second team competition and the group did a GREAT job! We had lots of improvement and goals being met and exceeded...way to go, team! After combining points from both tests, we have the following students in first and second place...
First Place - Fifth Grader Lucas B
Second Place (TIE) - Fifth graders Maya B, Bella R, Sophia H, Hannah S and fourth grader Isobel E-S!
Congratulations to our team! We will start up again in January - Happy New Year!
1/10 - Welcome back! The team met today, celebrated the results from our second test and worked through the two problems that gave the team the most challenge...half of the team focused on each problem and then verbalized/visualized how they worked through each one.
1/17 - The team met today and really worked through a problem as a group. They independently tried it first and then looked to a partner to compare/reflect. Our third challenge is next Tuesday!
1/31 - Students completed the third test competition last week and we have a new combination of our Top 3...
First (tie) - Fifth graders Maya B and Lucas B
Second - Fifth grader Sophia H
Third (tie) - Fourth grader Isobel E-S and fifth graders Bella R, Angelina H and Hannah S
In lieu of problem solving this week, we evaluated the MO experience so far - what are they enjoying/feeling successful with and what are they needing to change/adjust? The group was reflective and honest and some of what they shared (in their own words) is below...
*Sharing strategies with one another
What needs to change/adjust?
*More time to practice/analyze
*Problem solving in smaller group environment
I'm working with fourth and fifth grade teachers to address their requests/needs and updates to come. I LOVE that they are advocating for themselves, their learning and their school experience! YES!
2/22 - Students are now meeting as a team with me once a week as well as in their in class groups on a regular basis in order to practice and work on their creative problem solving strategies. This week's team problem was a geometry/measurement based problem (the toughest focus area for the group). The team worked in partners and small groups to problem solve and collaborate on the solution. We had many with close reasonable answers but only one team member was able to be 100% successful so she walked through her thought process and strategy step by step. Other team members were able to ask her clarifying questions at the end to wrap up any lingering questions. It was challenging session with lots of ah-ha moments from the team at large! Next week - TEST WEEK!
3/7 - Our team met and went over the results from test #4...
First (tie) - Fifth graders Lucas B and Maya B
Second/Third (tie) - Fifth graders Sophia H and Hannah S
We have five other team members who are within one or two points of the kids above so it's all about test number five...we could have a last minute shake up at the end! As a team, I focused our conversation around individual goal setting and how goals can really drive our success (and impede our success when they are lacking). Team members are making personal goals in preparation for the final test on March 21st.
Then, Lucas B showed his strategy and solution for problem number five (he was the only member who answered it correctly) and answered clarifying questions to help the team's overall understandings around the problem. We ended with three small groups of team members with each small group including the few who were successful with a specific problem - other team members were able to choose which group to go and watch/listen to strategy and solution work. Overall, a productive, enlightening and challenging morning!
3/14 - Our team met for one final problem solving practice session. They were given four problems and chose one to work on with a partner/small group based on the level of difficulty. After working for about 8 minutes, I provided the answers to the problems and they had to either confirm their work or work backward from answer to strategy. I witnessed lots of great teamwork and communication skills (both verbal and nonverbal) through the session. Our final team test is NEXT TUESDAY!
5/2 - We had our awards ceremony today and had some FABULOUS news! Besides our top three place team members, we had TEN TOTAL team members who placed 20%-50% among the 120,000+ students from around the WORLD who participated in Math Olympiad during the 2016-2017 school year. Congratulations to the UPark Math Olympiad team - you worked hard and felt SUCCESS!
Math Olympiad WILL be back next year and will be open to all 4th and 5th grade students with GT/HGT identifications in math and/or advanced math PARCC scores. See you next year!