Monday, March 9, 2015

3/3 Olympiad #5

After many of the kids asking about them, I finally brought some Sudoku puzzles to warm up on this week. I learned my lesson from ken-ken and only printed an easy and medium puzzle to start off with.  (I also had a hard limit on time to fit in the Olympiad this week). Generally, the kids responded well to the puzzles. I didn't have anyone finish both of them and most were only 3/4's done when I had to switch.  So I will probably repeat these again and try to lead in with a group discussion on strategies to use before we start the next time.   One thought is to demo, how I work through them myself on the projector.

This week was our fifth and final Math Olympiad.  Now that I've finished the full set I have to admit to my love-hate relationship with them. On the one hand, the kids usually like taking them and they make the afternoon super easy to plan. On the other hand, when I have other topics I'd like to branch into they can interfere with the sequence I'd like to follow. I've also noticed I tend to swing between having a ton of ideas for the next few weeks and worrying that I'm running low on material.  So I don't always resent pre-canned planning.

With that caveat out of the way. The kids did a bit better on this final overall but we had less perfect scores. I thought the rate problem included in this set would trip more people up than it did and the geometric one also was less problematic than I expected! In reviewing the problems more kids followed the best strategies per problem. My only disappointment was despite emphasizing there is always a commutative/regrouping/distributive problem each set several kids still just plowed through it brute force and in presented order.

Note: Signup for the last session is underway. It looks like most of the kids will be staying with me. Although I think I'm losing one to track and one to a move out of the district. We're far enough along now that I'm starting to think about final surveys and what questions I most want to hear about from the kids.

Also: I'm finding one of the downsides to the more worksheet centric approach I've been trying the last few weeks is a significant time cost in preparation and making copies. Once again I'm amazed at how much work it must be to do this all week and 6 hours a day.

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