Healthy competition has a variety of benefits for kids. Competitive activities are fun and can help children develop vital skills such as determination, motivation, and resilience. The same competitive spirit and teamwork we see in professional sports or esports can also be found in math competitions. Math competitions give kids an opportunity to showcase their knowledge, learn new strategies, and even win prizes. The excitement and healthy competition that comes with these events helps kids become proud math all-stars! Here are the top 5 math competitions kids will love!
What are Math Competitions?
Math Competitions are an exciting way for kids who love to problem solve. Teams and individuals face each other in fun and competitive challenges. These competitions are as good as sports at building teamwork and social learning skills. Math competitions are filled with contestants who thrive on the excitement of succeeding. Top competitions offer cash prizes and thousands of dollars in scholarships. These contests create exciting ways for kids to prove their talent and cement their skills.
Ready to introduce your child to math competitions? Here are the top 5 math competitions for young students looking to prove their passion for problem solving.
The Top 5 Math Competition programs in North America
Math Kangaroo is one of the largest math competitions in the world. With millions of competitors in over 80 countries, Math Kangaroo is all about celebrating students’ love of problem solving.
The competition started in Australia in 1978. The idea of a “for-fun” math contest piqued the interest of French teachers André Deledicq and Jean Pierre Boudine. After visiting their first competition, the teachers brought the concepts to France, starting the international “jeu-concours Kangourou” (Kangaroo Contest). This went on to be known as Mathematical Kangaroo or Math Kangaroo in the United States. The marsupial name of the competition was in honor of the birthplace of the math competition, Australia.
This international multiple-choice competition is one of the biggest in the world offering tons of rewards, prizes, and scholarships. The goal of the Math Kangaroo organization is to spread the love of math. With millions competing around the globe, Math Kangaroo has proven that math is a universal language.
The 70’s and 80’s saw a huge boost in math learning throughout the United States. In 1977, the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS) was founded by passionate mathematician and teacher Dr. George Lenchner. The Mathematical Olympiads is all about the fun and excitement that comes with problem solving. Dr. Lenchner believed math was the perfect subject to teach kids the importance of problem solving. Through fun and challenging math problems and puzzles, children can develop those problem solving skills. MOEMS focuses on looking at a problem and figuring out multiple ways to solve it. Finding flexibility in ways to solve a problem is important in math, and in life.
MOEMS has two levels for students, “Elementary” for grades 4-6 and “Middle School” for Grades 7 and 8. Students take tests monthly between November and March, creating a math competition season. Students take tests at schools in the U.S. and over 20 other nations graded by MOEMS across the globe. Dr. George Lenchner spent his entire career teaching the importance of math education to students and fellow teachers. Through the Math Olympiads, his passion for problem solving spreads further every year.
The American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) are where the best of the best math students aim to join the United States math team in the International Mathematical Olympiad. Through four rounds of math testing, a U.S. team of 6 people is chosen to represent the best math minds in America against the world. Having the chance to join the U.S. team is an accomplishment. Consider the AMC as the NFL draft for mathematics students.
The members of the Committee on the American Mathematics Competitions (CAMC) have been creating a test for passionate math students since 1950 in New York. As word spread about these competitions, it soon became a national test whose goal is to celebrate students with excellent math skills. Originally for High School students, the popular competition now includes children in middle school in a competition known as the AMC 8. Getting a perfect score provides more than certificates, pins, and other rewards. When students do well on the AMC, it is proof of their hard work, skills, and dedication math students have given to become math masters.
Caribou Contest has one simple mission, make math fun. The competition is designed to make math contest accessible to everyone, creating an engaging experience for both kids interested in math and those who need a little support. Caribou Contest focuses on creating a contest based on creative problem solving rather than memorization. Creating a fun and inclusive environment helps lessen math anxiety and increases confidence in math and in life.
Caribou Contest, named after the Canadian reindeer, was the idea of Dr. Thomas Wolf. Wolf wanted to reach out to students and create a fun way to enjoy learning math. The contest is hosted online and includes interactive questions and puzzles. They are offered multiple times during the school year and start as early as kindergarten. The website also features videos and study guides that help explain concepts and ways to solve them. Making math a fun and supportive competition has grown Caribou Contest from a small online community to an exciting math experience in over 30 countries.
The Math League brings math competition to the bare essentials. This contest only allows paper, a pen or pencil, and a simple calculator during competitions. For students looking for a challenge to their skills, The Math League provides an academically-oriented option. There are people who enjoy a fun time and those who thrive on a bigger challenge. The Math League is for those looking for a pure math challenge. This is the perfect competition program for advanced math students looking to truly be challenged.
The Math League was founded by two high school mathematics teachers, Steven R. Conrad, and Daniel Flegler. The pair received the Presidential Awards for “Excellence in Mathematics Teaching” from President Reagan for their passion for math education. Conrad and Flegler have influenced mathematicians throughout the world, helping support the most brilliant math minds. The Math League is the perfect place for those who have embraced math at an early age and want a challenge.
Ready to Start?
Kids thrive on learning and experiencing new things. For those kids who are excited about math, these competitions are a great way to exercise other skills. Kids learn to build confidence, and teamwork skills, express themselves and become part of a community. Kids want to be the very best, have fun solving problems with their friends or walk away with a great prize. These contests give students a chance to show off their talents and gain recognition for their hard work in becoming math masters.