Some of the area’s best and brightest young mathematical minds descended on UFV’s Abbotsford campus for the Fraser Valley Math Challengers Regional Competition recently.
Grade 8 and 9 contestants battled through three rounds of competition — two individual rounds and a cooperative team round — after which the top 10 individuals from each grade faced off two at a time in the final buzzer round. The level of difficulty of the questions varied greatly: speedy calculations were required in the first and fourth rounds, while more resourcefulness in problem-solving was important in the middle two rounds.
This year’s Canadian Math Challengers Society event on Feb. 13 was co-organized by UFV Mathematics and Statistics instructor Ian Affleck.
“Math Challengers events are actually quite similar to a track-and-field meets, with individual events, team relays, and highly anticipated finals for the top few individuals,” Affleck says.
“The main difference is that the skills developed in training for and competing at Math Challengers are much more likely to directly prepare the participants for their eventual careers.”
Regional competitions are held across B.C. each February, with the top teams from regional tournaments moving on to compete at the annual provincial competition in March.
Run by volunteers, Math Challengers builds skills, promotes strategic problem-solving, and exposes students to complex problems that require creativity and persistence in order to be solved — all a critical part of our increasingly technological society, according to the group’s website.
“What I like best about the Math Challengers contest format is emphasis on collaboration within the school teams. Communication and collaboration are extremely important skills for scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to have, but most math competitions are quiet, sombre examinations where only individual achievement is recognized. It’s exciting to see the teams of four or five young minds brainstorming together in the cooperative round, and to hear the cheers of encouragement from schoolmates for those competing in the final face-off round,” adds Affleck.
Questions from this year’s regional completion included: What is the smallest positive integer that is a solution of 32x − 16 > 1600?; How many square units are in the area of the trapezoid with vertices at (0, 0), (8, 0), (5, 3), and (1, 3)?; and the first two terms of the Fibonacci sequence are 1 and 1. After that, each term is the sum of the previous two. So the Fibonacci sequence goes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. How many of the first 100 terms of the Fibonacci sequence are multiples of 4?
2014 Fraser Valley Regional Competition Results:
Top 10 Grade 8 individuals:
1. St. John Brebeuf Secondary: Young Jae Jung
2. Fleetwood Park Secondary: Andrew Luo
3. Pacific Academy: Serena Tsao
4. Fleetwood Park Secondary: Jason Mao
5. Pacific Academy: Courtenay Chu (Winner: Grade 8 face-off round)
6. Alex Hope Elementary: Yilian Zhao
7. Mission Secondary: Imat Grewal
8. Credo Christian High School: Shawn Deddens
9. Clayburn Middle: Shua Cho
10. Fleetwood Park Secondary: Terry Zheng
Top 10 Grade 9 individuals:
1. R.E. Mountain Secondary: Jerry Zhu
2. Fleetwood Park Secondary: Alex Liu
3. Fleetwood Park Secondary: Justin Zheng (Winner: Grade 9 face-off round)
4. R.E. Mountain Secondary: Justin Zhao
5. Johnston Heights Secondary: Daniel Venn
6. Meadow Ridge Secondary: Ryan Zhou
7. Johnston Heights Secondary: Victoria Ni
8. R.E. Mountain Secondary: Elly Choi
9. Johnston Heights Secondary: Sean Park
10. Johnston Heights Secondary: Henry Cao
Top six Grade 8 schools (invited to provincials):
1. Fleetwood Park Secondary
2. Pacific Academy
3. Alex Hope Elementary
4. St. John Brebeuf Secondary
5. Credo Christian High School
6. Langley Meadows Elementary
Top six Grade 9 schools (invited to provincials):
1. R.E. Mountain Secondary
2. Johnston Heights Secondary
3. Meadow Ridge Secondary
4. Fleetwood Park Secondary
5. Credo Christian High School
6. St. John Brebeuf Secondary
For more information, visit http://apeg.bc.ca/mathchallengers/.