- March 1, 2021
UMS recently participated in the annual Canadian National Mathematics League (CNML) contests for Grades 6, 7, and 8. While we have participated in this contest before, this was the first time it we administered an external examination over Zoom, and the whole process ran very smoothly. We are particularly proud of our students for their hard work, determination, and perseverance. Many students really engaged with this challenge, reveled in the struggle, and put forth their fine efforts to achieve their personal best. The real victory for each student was achieved as they pushed the bounds of their creativity in applying all Math concepts that they have learned to problems and situations that were new and unfamiliar. This act of problem solving, a key focus within the UMS curriculum, is what brings mathematics alive and makes it relevant for each of us every day, whether we are conscious of it or not.
When students participate in Math contests, it allows for them to demonstrate their problem solving and critical thinking skills, demonstrating how they can ‘think outside of the box’. This skillset allows the student to use prior knowledge, and access facts and data, forcing the learner to think quickly on their feet to find accurate solutions. Each student may approach solving a problem in different ways. Some will focus on ‘problem focused thinking’, while others focus on ‘solution focused thinking’.
Math contests will often push students beyond their skill comfort by challenging even the strongest students. When students do well in contests, it provides a real boost to their confidence and even deepens their interest in the subject. Above all, the messaging remains that Math can be fun, enjoyable, and challenging all at the same time!