Medals for Math Challengers

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by Saje, Grade 8

Academics are a large part of what we focus on at SMUS, but there is more to learning than just classes. One example of this is Math Challengers. Math challengers is an co-curricular club that meets at lunchtime. Every year, there is a Grade 8 and 9 math competition that we Math Challengers enter, going to Camosun College and competing in teams of five and as individuals against other schools. The Grade 8 and Grade 9 students compete separately, but we write the same test.

Last year, in Grade 7, I competed in the contest. One of our Grade 8 teams (made of Grade 8 and under students) qualified to go to provincials in Vancouver. The provincials was an incredible experience and there were so many brilliant kids from all around BC. The face off of the top 10 students was unbelievable. I could barely follow it! This year both a Grade 8 and a Grade 9 team qualified to go to provincials at UBC in early March.

This year’s competition was just as fun as last year’s. We had two full teams in the Grade 8 category and a few in Grade 9. All sorts of professional engineers and mathematicians come to help run the contest. We write two individual contests, Blitz and Bulls Eye. These give us our individual score and the top 10 compete in the face off (after pizza, of course). The third part of the contest is a Co-op, where in teams of five we work on the hardest questions yet.

This year, we held five of the 10 face off spots. In first place was Theodore, in fifth Tony, myself in seventh, Larry (an exceptional grade 6) in ninth and Jacki in tenth. After many rounds of holding his spot, Tony and Theo were together in the final round of the face off. It was a tight match, the winner coming out by just one: Tony. In Grade 9, we had three people place, Noah High in first (he also won the face-off), Alec Xu in fifth, and Jonathan Skinnader in sixth.

I’m very proud of our school; after the awards ceremony, we came out with seven trophies in all, many medals and we got to keep our team shirts with 500 digits of Pi on them. All of us are quite excited for provincials this year, and those of us in the Grade 8 competition are already planning on how to win again next year! I strongly encourage anyone in Grade 8 or 9 next year to come to a few meeting and check it out, it’s well worth the experience of math in a semi-professional setting. I know it’s also improved my math skills tremendously and it teaches how to work under pressure.

I hope you’ll notice our trophies throughout the Middle and Senior School and maybe even come and join us next year, there’s always room for more Mathletes!

Are you wondering what clubs to get involved with next year? Check out the Middle School Leadership and Activities Guide to get some ideas for September 2015.

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