New this year is a fifty-year format for the High School Math Contest; plus, the Middle School Math Contest is being conducted on five of the six MS math standards approved by the state. Registration opens January 4th, with an awards ceremony or banquet in the town or city of the winner. It is important to register early, as spaces are limited and getting on the wait-list is very competitive. Late registration may cause a change in your chances for winning the contest. I always recommend registering early, so you have time to review your answers and make any corrections before the pageant.
The Pascal math contest consists of two parts: gold and silver medals. The gold medals are given for first place and these medals are available at local retail stores (not the math center). Silver medals are awarded for second place and these medals can also be found at local retail stores (not the math center.) The math contest is administered by the Middle School Math Superintendents Association and is sponsored by Microsoft. I was asked to speak at the last meeting of this organization and I discussed how easy it would be for students to practice their problem solving skills using the Microsoft Office programs.
After that, I gave some quick tips on how to enter your child into his or her first high school math contest. Since most of these contests run over the summer, I encourage you to get your child prepared as early as possible so that he or she has a chance to practice and win. Most elementary schools participate in some kind of math contest or the other at least once during the year. Your child might already be on the honor roll or someone might be encouraging him or her to sign up. If so, all you need to do is contact the principal and let them know that your child is planning on entering a math contest either in the fall or spring.
Usually there are rules specifying how much material students must enter and how they will receive their prizes. It is important to read these over carefully before registering your child. In the event that something is overlooked, such as a prize, you will want to make sure that your child knows that there will be a prize. Once you have filled out the necessary paperwork and secured the date of the math contest, you will be contacted by a math teacher who will inform you that your child is one of three hundred and sixty-two to take the math exam. The teacher will give you the homework that will be needed when the test is due.
What will happen next is that the principal will schedule an individual awards ceremony for each of the three hundred and sixty-two kids. This usually takes place the weekend of April twenty-one. This is the main competition to date but there may be smaller regional competitions throughout the year. You will find that there is typically an award ceremony for students in every grade level. Typically, the middle school students receive gold, silver, bronze, and another form of trophy. The high school students receive a silver trophy.
After this presentation, you can expect a short time period to pass before the contestants are called on to show the math works of their students. During the presentations you will find that the students are asked questions pertaining to the math problem. The goal is for the students to answer all the questions correctly. The math teacher will then award the winner. The event is not organized by the school district, but is instead a private celebration organized by the winner's family.
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