At Solway, all students in the Years 5/6 Maths Extension Group have the opportunity to participate in the Maths Olympiad. The Maths Olympiad is an annual competition in which teams of up to 30 students from primary (Junior Division) and secondary schools (Senior Division) across Australia and New Zealand, compete in a series of mathematical problem solving challenges. Conducted during terms two and three, there are five challenges in all, each containing 5 separate problem-solving scenarios for which the students are allowed around 25 to 30 minutes in total to attempt to solve.
The format of the Maths Olympiad is a pen and paper quiz. The skills, strategies and understandings required to successfully negotiate these challenges are quite complex therefore, preparation for tackling Maths Olympiads occurs in the months preceding each year’s Maths Olympiad. Students are explicitly taught a defined range of problem solving strategies and mathematical processes and are then provided with the opportunity to apply these to a range of problem solving scenarios, including past Maths Olympiad papers.
Each participating student receives a certificate at the conclusion of each annual Maths Olympiad, while there is also an annual, school-based Encouragement Award presented to the student who has shown the most improvement over the one or two years in which they have participated. Students finishing in the top 25% or higher in the overall results are eligible for further awards including badges and medals. Our most recent successful individual effort was produced by Evan Yang in 2010 who managed to win a ‘Perfect Score’ medal for scoring 25 out of 25. A feat achieved by only 151 of the more than 30,000 students who entered that year.