Wednesday, March 8, 2017

3/7 Olympiad #5

Today started with a small mix-up. A boy I recruited at the Julia Robinson Festival to join Math Club showed up. But the next quarter doesn't start for 3 weeks. I offered to let him join us anyway but I think he was too embarrassed. Hopefully, he'll still come on the real first day. The whole incident is a reminder that even though I assume I know most of the "mathy" kids in the grade, hidden depths are out there.

After that, the rest of the day went  more smoothly and had several small rewarding moments. We started by running down the  Problem of the week as a group.  I only had one student demonstrate how to divide the boards (its a stair like cut) and unfortunately this didn't generate as much problem solving discussion as I prefer.  From there, we completed the last MOEMs Olympiad for the year. Looking this one over, I thought it was among the trickiest of the series. We'll see how the scores go but several of the problems had fairly complex instructions to deduce the answers and I think the general trend will be a bit lower than the last one. I did have a good group problem solving session afterwards and had the kids show solutions for all the problems.  One small tweak I've implemented is to write the problems on all the whiteboards while the kids are working so we're set to go for the group discussion.  Kids were well focused through the entire time with the only extra chatting being about how to solve the problems differently. The one future topic I noticed among the problems was to work a bit on explaining how choosing unordered sets work i..e  \(\binom{n}{k} = \frac{n!}{k!(n-k)!}\)  This pairs well with a dive into Pascal's triangle. I'm going to take a look at Arthur Benjamin's book to see if he has an approach that is adaptable for a group.

For the light activity I had all the kids who finished early working on an Euler path exercise from "This is not a Maths Book"

The kids found this very interesting and it again could be a topic for a whole session.

Other Ideas from around the web I'm thinking about for future meetings:

Problem of the Week

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