What Is the International Math Contest and How Do I Participate?

When tested for math capabilities, Canada ranks 6th while the U.S. ranks 39th out of 70 countries. That’s not ideal for the U.S. If you’re following the math, that means the U.S. is in the bottom half.

So what can we do about it? Enrolling students in math enrichment programs like Spirit of Math (SoM) and participating in math competitions like SoM’s annual International Math Contest help boost the academic scores and the capabilities of future generations. More importantly, these enrichment programs and contests encourage young learners to love math instead of avoiding it in childhood and throughout their lives. 

Here we’ll talk about what you need to know about Spirit of Math and the value behind having your students participate in this International Math Competition. 

What Is Spirit of Math International Math Contest?

Spirit of Math International Math Contest is a global math competition for Grades 1-6 students that will hold its 22nd edition on February 26, 2021, in partnership with Stanford University’s SMILE. This is an international challenge open to all schools and students around the world. 

The SoM Contest gives competitors recognition for how far they’ve come and it allows them to compare themselves to their peers across the world. Children are encouraged to take pride in their work and their efforts. Most importantly, children are brought together in the name of making math fun and exciting to learn and apply.

International Math Contest competitors will have a chance to be nationally recognized. The Stanford SMILE and Spirit of Math Contest websites will list students who achieve perfect scores. Students with perfect scores and those on the Honour Roll will be recognized with medals and certificates.

There are a lot of benefits your child can enjoy when they take part in a math contest. Math contests can boost your child’s confidence and can encourage their passion for mathematics.

What is Spirit of Math?

Spirit of Math is the global leader in math enrichment programs for students, teachers, and schools with over 30 years of success in teaching gifted and high-performing students to go from the top of their class to the top of the world. Spirit of Math encourages students with a passion for math to pursue that passion, and we provide environments and resources to help young learners grow.

Spirit of Math has over 10,000 students and 40+ campuses across Canada, the U.S., and as far as Pakistan. We also provide after school classes and teacher training. Spirit of Math is here to help students with their math education.

Students who study with Spirit of Math learn how to approach many types of problems as they build up their confidence and ability to work as part of a team. Students learn how to persevere through difficult problems.

Most of all, Spirit of Math teaches students to have fun solving problems and coming up with creative solutions. We want all our students to know the thrill of finally getting the right answer to a difficult problem. 

What is the Stanford SMILE Project?

SMILE stands for Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning Environment. It’s a program that allows students to ask and answer other students’ questions.

It encourages students to be curious and teaches them to be inquisitive thinkers. The software tracks a student’s learning journey, which helps teachers understand the way students learn.

The Stanford SMILE Project helps bring education to underserved areas of the world. It’s especially useful in developing areas where teachers are scarce. Anyone can ask a question and get answers.

Who is Eligible for the Spirit of Math International Math Contest?

Any student between grades 1-6 is eligible for the Spirit of Math International Math Contest. Schools can enroll their students for the contest by registering the school and students on the Spirit of Math Contest website.

The registration deadline is February 15th, 2021. So if you or your students are interested in participating, don’t hesitate!

When is the Spirit of Math Contest?

The contest will take place during normal school hours on February 26, 2021.

Where Will the Spirit of Math Contest Take Place?

The contest will take place at the participating schools. It will be held either in a students’ usual classroom or common areas as each school sees fit.

What Can I Expect from the Spirit of Math Contest?

The contest is is a written, multiple-choice contest with four options for each question. Each question answered correctly will be worth one mark. The final score will be provided as a total of correct answers out of the total available score.

There are no deductions for wrong answers. Calculators and other counting devices are not allowed.

The number of questions and time allowed will vary depending on the students’ grade level.

Grades 1-2 will have 30 minutes to answer 20 questions.

Grades 3-4 will have 45 minutes to answer 30 questions.

Grades 5-6 will have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions.

This is a global contest. Part of our mission is to expose students to questions from different parts of the world.

How Can I Participate?

If you are a school or a teacher and would like to participate in the Spirit of Math International Math Contest, click to Register Now.

If you are a parent and would like your child to participate in the Spirit of Math International Math Contest, let us know by filling up the form here.

Why Should I Enroll My Students?

Enrolling in math contests has a lot of benefits to your students. Let’s reflect on a few reasons to enroll in math contests.

Encourage an Interest in Mathematics

The first benefit of participating in math contests is obvious. It encourages a student’s interest in math.

As one of the STEM fields, mathematics is vital to our society and those who are good at it are rewarded. People with a career in a field of mathematics can easily bring in a six-figure salary every year.

An interest in math can also help your students take better control of their finances. They’ll be more likely to understand compound interest and annual interest rates, and they’ll be able to make good investments accordingly. Building a budget and following it might even be fun for them.

Teach Perseverance

Math is hard. It’s frustrating and it’s easy to give up on when you don’t know the answer. But diligent students don’t quit. And when they don’t, they eventually figure out the answer, and it’s rewarding!

The success of solving a problem makes students feel great about themselves and their capabilities. It reminds them that you don’t achieve success without working hard and pushing through a lot of failures.

Math competitions encourage students to carry this perseverance with them. They learn anything can be overcome with enough hard work and determination.

Boost Self-Confidence

Self-confidence ties in with perseverance. A student who knows they can overcome any obstacle thanks to their own hard work feels better about themselves. They have more trust in their own abilities.

When students win math competitions, that boosts their self-confidence too. It shows them that their hard work paid off. They receive recognition and lasting proof of it.

Self-confidence can help students out in other areas of their life. Self-confidence helps students feel qualified. This gives them a leg up for job interviews, college applications, and scholarships.

Prepare Your Students for Competition

Math contests teach your students to handle success and failure alike. It helps them learn how to perform well under pressure.

Math contests teach your students that successful, consistent performance requires practice. And a lot of it too. This is a valuable habit for when your students become adults and enter the workforce.

Teach Time Management

If you have thirty minutes to answer twenty questions, how many problems should you have done in fifteen minutes?

That’s right, the answer is ten. If your student hasn’t finished ten questions by the fifteen-minute checkpoint, they know they have to speed up their work to finish in time.

Math contests help your students improve their time management skills. This can help them in all areas of their life.

As individuals, we all need to know how long a project takes and how much should be done by a certain time. From there, we can figure out checkpoints to make sure we’re on track.

This time-aware mindset in preparation for and while writing math contests can help students manage their time better even beyond a competition. As a result, students are able to focus better for longer periods and end up accomplishing more in that time.

That’s the power of using time wisely.

Add Credentials to Applications

Even at a young age, your child can use their math contest participation to build a list of credentials. They can use these credentials to get into top universities. 

Colleges and scholarships like to see credentials. It shows a well-rounded student who would be a good asset to their schools.

Even as secondary students enter the workforce at 15 or 16 years old, they can show employers thaty they are dedicated and hard-working. 

How Can I Help My Student Prepare?

Helping your student prepare for a math contest will make it easier for them to approach the contest. Plus it will improve their chances of success. And there’s a lot you can do too, all along the way, but especially before the big day.

One of the best resources to help your students prepare for the contest is Spirit of Math’s math contest problems practice center. There are a ton of videos and contests from previous years for the students to practice in a fun, interactive way.

Help Them Practice and Study

There’s a lot you can do to help your student practice for and study for a math competition. You can simulate a competition experience or go over practice tests like the ones here.

Practice materials can help your student feel comfortable and confident. If your student is comfortable, they’ll do better in the contest.

Teach them tactics to help them manage their nerves before a big test or competition. Sometimes nerves get in the way, and they’re hard to overcome. But with a few tricks to manage them, nerves should become another problem they can easily overcome.

Encourage Good Study Habits

You can help your students study for the contest. You should also encourage them to practice good study habits for all their classes.

Make sure students have an area where they can study free from distractions. They shouldn’t have their phone. If they listen to music, make sure it’s the kind that will help them focus – lyrics-free with a good beat. Cafe background noise works great too.

Teach students methods like the Pomodoro technique to help them keep their focus.

The study skills students learn in preparation for a math contest will help them through high school, college, and their future careers.

Make Sure They Get a Good Night’s Sleep

No matter how much your student or child studies during the preparatory time, they need a good night’s sleep for the best results. Sleep is essential to how our brains learn and remember things. An exhausted brain doesn’t work well the next day.

Your students may be nervous and they’ll want to cram before the competition. It’s okay for them to review problems and get in some last-minute practice, but not at the expense of their sleep.

Remind students that a good night’s sleep is the most important part of their study plan.

Make Sure They Eat a Healthy Breakfast

The morning of contest day, make sure your child eats a healthy, nutritious breakfast. This should be a meal that’s filling and high with protein and nutrients.

Healthy protein shakes are one good option. Eggs and toast are another.

Blueberries are thought to boost brain power and improve your recollection and logic skills. Greek blueberry yogurt is a great breakfast food before tests or math competitions.

Avoid sugary cereals or pancakes and waffles. These are all desserts disguised as breakfast foods.

A full belly and a protein-powered brain will help each of students focus and think more clearly.

Encourage Them

Win or lose, it’s wonderful that your students are competing in an international math contest! Hopefully, this experience is just the seed for a lifelong passion for learning.

Encourage and congratulate your students. Let them know how proud you are. Tell them you’re glad that they’re challenging themselves and pursuing their passions.

No matter how well any of your students do in a math competition, they’re challenging themselves and taking risks. These experiences will set them up for success for the rest of their lives. 

Spirit of Math International Math Contest is a Great Way to Encourage your Students’ Passion

Participating in the Spirit of Math International Math Contest is a great way to encourage your students’ love of math. They can challenge themselves alongside peers from around the world.

Plus, your students will enjoy all the other benefits that come with competing. Contests are a great way to help your students build their self-esteem. They get to push through difficulties and feel rewarded for their perseverance. 

Interested in enrolling in the Spirit of Math International Math Contest in 2021? Register here and we’ll help you get started! Remember, registration ends February 15th, 2021, so don’t wait!

And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!