Objectives

Approach

Class Format

Math Olympiad

Homeschooling Information

- To interest students in math! (Most important!)
- To provide a positive experience that shows the student and family that math can be fun.
- To provide math enrichment for highly capable and highly motivated students. This includes kids of average ability that are willing to work at math. Your child doesn't have to be a 'math whiz' to succeed at this.
- To prepare elementary students for secondary school mathematics, science, and computer courses.
- To give students a 'leg up' on the WASL.
- To provide students an opportunity to compete well at the Washington State Math Council (WSMC) Math Olympiad, held in early May of each year.

We attempt to follow the standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in our course. It is our experience and our continuing hope that the students' exposure to this wide exposition of math concepts will spark an interest in math and engender confidence in their math abilities that will follow them through middle and high school and into a career. The principal reason that participation in the Washington State Math Olympiad is included as an objective is the focus that this event provides, and the strong feeling of accomplishment that students get from competing in an academic event. When asked at the end of the year what their favorite part of the program was, most students mention this competition. A caveat is in order here. While competition is an objective, winning is not. Our first year program is not sufficiently intensive or deep to train a student to win the state competitions. That level of preparation would restrict our program to a few gifted students and would violate objective #3. Students in the top two or three percentile will find these lessons easy. They are not our target student population. Many of the students participate in a second year of this program to increase mastery of concepts and to refine problem solving techniques, and they traditionally compete at a higher level.

A major benefit for offering a math concepts course to this age group is that girls in this age group generally have not lost interest in math. It is our goal to expose girls to these advanced concepts at an early age so that their interest and confidence will follow them through the rest of their school years and into careers that utilize math. Frequently we see math teams in which girls outnumber boys.- (5 minutes)
**Mental math**. 3 to 5 problems to get students warmed up. - (5 minutes)
**Review**two or three homework problems. Students solve problems on the board. - (10 minutes)
**Explanation of new topic**, with examples on the board and interaction with class. - (40 minutes)
**Students work problems**in class with coaches assistance. Homework is handed out when students successfully complete the in-class exercise.

**Number Sense**(arithmetic, number theory, fractions, decimals, percentages, basic logic, word-problem solution, negative numbers, prime numbers, factoring)**Measurement**(Systems of measurement, dimensions, approximation; areas, perimeters, and circumferences of 2-dimensional figures--triangles, quadrilaterals, circles--and volumes of 3-dimensional figures)**Geometric Sense**(geometric relationships and shapes, including properties of 3-dimensional solids, Pythagorean theorem)**Probability and Statistics**(simple probability, mean, mode, median, range, combinations, permutations)**Algebraic Sense**(expression evaluation, equation solution, word-problem solution, exponents)**Problem Solving**Students solve a written problem, showing how they solved it and communicating their understanding of the problem and its solution.

In addition, each team is required to solve a "significant problem" and to respond in a written paper that is scored with a scoring guide (rubric). The "significant problem" may involve several or all of the Essential Learnings, including logical reasoning, connecting math to applications, and communication of understanding. See our problems page for examples of these.

- Get a committed teacher sponsor. This smoothes communication with school administration.
- Involve the community by soliciting parent support through the PTA. There are nominal costs of approximately $300-$400 for this program. These include purchase of notebooks, 4-function calculators, registration of teams, and T-shirts if you decide to go to the Olympiad. Your PTA may want to help out.
- Coordinate your program with the middle schools that students will later attend. Take a look at the middle school curriculum and be prepared to advise in the placement of students who are exiting this program.
- Solicit help from the parents of your students. They are motivated to ensure that your program is a success. Some may volunteer to help as assistants.
- Our school district has a math/science coordinator. If yours does also, contact this person for help and access to additional materials and resources.
- Start small:
- Only one instructor?: One grade, 10 students max.
- One instructor and a non-teaching helper?: One grade 14 students max.
- 2 instructors?: One grade, 18 students max.

- Recruit an administrative helper, preferably a teacher, to coordinate with parents and school administration, and with Math Olympiad officials.