Today I took 12 of my students to their first math competition. We had no idea what to expect other than it would be a 16 question exam, 45 minutes long and no calculators. We also knew the topics would be algebra, geometry and miscellaneous elementary topics.
We met at the school and took a bus over to the high school where the competition was being held. The kids were really excited and it was so cool to see them happy and pumped up to take a math test on a Saturday morning! Of course their motivation was the prizes they could have won $100 for the highest score, $50 for 2nd highest and $25 for 3rd place.
Once we got there they were taken to the exam room and I headed back to hang with the parents. At 12 we headed to the gym where they had a luncheon set up for us. The kids joined us and they were still all smiles, but were blown away at how challenging the test was! I was happy that they got to keep the copy of the test and an answer key. I swear the problems looked like they came directly from the Palette of Problems section in NCTM's Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School journal. So, while they were challenging problems, they were do-able. The only one they probably wouldn't know how to do was a system problem with 4 variables. I'm definitely going to start giving them problems each week from Palette of Problems.
After lunch they announced the winners and top 10 teams (there were 25 teams), we already knew we didn't do well, but the kids didn't seem too upset, well I take that back, after we found out the winner had a perfect score, my one student (who has gotten 300's (perfect score) on the last few NJAsk tests, kept saying over and over "how did she get them all right!" I'm happy that he is one of my 7th graders, he will be on our team next year too and seems determined to do better next year!
They did get a certificate and a free sundae at Applebee's for participating.
Here are the QCA Mathletes with their certificates!
They also noticed and commented on how they were the only school that was all African-American and Hispanic. They realized that they need to get out there and represent more. They are already asking me to find more competitions for them to go to!