kitchen table math, the sequel: Math competition for grades 1 through 6

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Math competition for grades 1 through 6

A friend is seeking information about math competitions for grades 1-6.  Does anyone have specific knowledge or experience with these?  Are some better known than others are?  Any advice on which one is the best?  Are there significant differences in the types of questions asked?

Here are some that appear to be popular:

Some previous KTM math competition discussions:


Jo in OKC said...

MOEMS has a good reputation for having good, worthwhile problems that aren't just plug and chug.

One you didn't mention is the Grace Church School Abacus International Math Challenge. It's an untimed math contest, so the problems can be a little different than other contests. You have to show your work. It's for grades 3-8.

Anonymous said...

There's an international one called Kangaroo Math, I believe. It's geared towards grade school, but goes up to 12th grade. You might have to Google it. The winner of one year was a tutor to my son and he said it was a good one for all kinds of kids.

Mathcounts is middle school (grades 6-8). It's problem solving and they practice through the year with sheets that are sent in a packet. You can have as little as 2 or 3 for a team. I'm not sure how they handle homeschoolers or people who go it alone because I got conflicting info from the people who run it in my state.

One thing I did do (since my school didn't have a Mathcounts team at the time) was look up the previous year's participants. From there I found a couple of schools in my town that participated. I was then able to contact the teacher who sponsored it to find out how it was all set up.

Mathcounts is pretty tough, but I thought the kids that did it with my son all got a lot out of it. They definitely enjoyed it even though there are few winners. They were also exposed to a higher level of math enthusiasm than anything they had witnessed at their own school.

I though I had heard somewhere that AMC had a middle school test, but I'm not sure about that.

Check out the book What High Schools Don't Tell You by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross. She has nearly evey type of competition listed in there and who to contact.


Amy P said...

Question: What is the time commitment required for the different math contests? Does it have to be weekly, or is it possible to get by with biweekly or monthly?

Anonymous said...

The students in our middle school take the Math League contest without any kind of practice (other than being given a sample contest from a previous year to look at). Math League has a different contest for each grade (which can be an advantage over a contest such as MathCounts, where sixth graders are allowed to participate with the seventh and eighth graders but are unlikely to do well if they do not know algebra). There are sample questions on both the Math League web site and the MathCounts web site. MathCounts is a lot of fun for the students and an opportunity to go beyond what they are learning in class, but my experience is that students/teams who do well put a lot of time into preparation. The 24 Game is another math competition ( did not enjoy it, but some of our students did it in elementary and loved it.