Dear Math Olympiad Parents,
We're glad that your child is interested in Math Olympiad. We'll be working on challenging problems each week and your child will have a sheet of them to bring home. It would be very good if your child would continue to work on them. If your child does, be aware that the kids should think of creative ways to solve them: they do not need to use algebra. Algebra is a powerful tool, but like other tools, when used mechanically it can relieve the user of the burden of understanding what he or she is doing.
Who : Any fourth or fifth grader at Mesa who is interested and willing to be a committed participant is welcome to join our team.
What : Math Olympiad (MO) is a program that serves students nationally and internationally. Since 1979, it has provided challenging, thought-provoking problems that stretch the abilities of students in grades 4 to 8. First we'll review some basics that we'll need in our math tool kit. From October through February we'll hone our problem solving skills by working old MO tests for three days a month. Once a month we'll take an official MO test.
Where & When : To be announced
During this school year, your child will be participating in the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS). MOEMS is a nonprofit public foundation which provides opportunities for children to engage in creative problem solving activities which develop a child's ability to reason, to be logical, to be resourceful, and occasionally to be ingenious.
The Olympiad goals for children are for them to:
1. develop enthusiasm for problem solving and mathematics
2. deepen understanding of mathematical concepts and strengthen ability to use these concepts,
3. consider concepts that they might not otherwise encounter, and
4. enrich experiences in intellectually stimulating and significant mental activities.
Like most worthwhile goals, there is no easy road to becoming a capable problem solver. One must recognize that this is an important and desirable goal, and that it may take considerable time and effort to realize it.
Your child will practice regularly under the direction of a faculty sponsor in preparation for five monthly Olympiad contests. Being able to solve a difficult problem is one of the most satisfying experiences one may have. On the other hand, struggling with a difficult problem should indicate to your child that he or she has found something worthwhile and new to learn. This should be viewed as a challenge and an opportunity to grow. Learning how to solve a problem and to understand its underlying mathematical concepts are the most important goals of mathematics education.
Your encouragement and recognition of the importance of the Olympiad goals will help your child enjoy the Olympiad program as well as make progress in becoming a problem solver.
We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Richard Kalman, Executive Director