This is another first in our house – a Maths Olympiad. 

Some photos for posterity:

Kiera, the pirate, does the grade 2 paper.  Managing to concentrate, despite mom flashing away with the camera.

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Katie, so serious, applies herself to thinking and counting and writing and doing.  These papers are fun and challenging, which is why Katie actually looks like she is deep in concentration.  Normally, she is in some dreamland or another. 

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Living Maths began at SACS High in 1994.  It has developed and grown into what their website explains as:

The aim of the living maths programme is two-fold: to provide a stimulating environment where learners who have an above-average ability and analytical problem solving skills, will be challenged beyond the scope of the normal classroom setting and to help foster a new excitement in children who struggle with numbers. This is a structured outcomes-based programme that supplements the existing mathematics syllabus. Various classes are aimed at learners who have a whole range of abilities. Our main thrust is towards children who have an above average aptitude for the analytical sciences and the field of mathematics. We believe that no development or appreciation of mathematics can be achieved unless the learner is able to visualise the relevance of the subject in their everyday lives.

My kids are not above-average mathematicians, but we decided to do the Olympiad anyway, for exposure and for fun.  Also, we get to do it at home without the pressure and expectation of an exam.  Plus, it’s a sneaky way for me to gauge how they’re doing in terms of their grade level.  While I mostly am not too concerned about that, it is helpful to know for a number of reasons.  They did really well, scoring 100% each (Katie got 100% on the test, with none of the bonus questions right; Kiera got 80% on the test, with all the bonus questions right, bringing her to 100%). 

I was suitably impressed with the Living Maths approach to maths.  The girls had some very real life maths problems to solve and they (mostly!) enjoyed the experience.  Their website explains more about the birth and growth of Living Maths.  You can read more about it and all the schools that are involved here: Living Maths. 

Thanks goes to Aquilla for organising the homeschoolers in our area to take part :)

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