Friday, January 15, 2016

MATHCOUNTS: a mathematics competition for middle school students

MATHCOUNTS is a nationwide school-based competition for middle school students.  Not all schools offer it - if your school doesn't I encourage you to push a bit and help them find an appropriate coach (teacher, parent, older student, etc).  There are four levels: school, chapter, state, and national, and the problems get harder as you go. There are four rounds: sprint (individual written exam), target (four 6-minute mini-exams), team (group written exam), and countdown (oral fast-paced head to head round).  While some students thrive on the focus on speed and the competitive nature of the competition, it's not attractive to all students.

The MATHCOUNTS foundation offers a few other middle school mathematics program, like The National Math Club, which provides math club leaders with resources and materials needed to run other clubs.  Unlike the competition series, math circles and other tutoring / enrichment centers can register.

I was not able to participate in MATHCOUNTS myself, as my school had stopped offering it a few years before, but I know many people who have.

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