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Mathcounts At Peterson(2008 09)


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My Experience as Coach of MATHCOUNTS PROGRAM @ Peterson Middle School

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Mathcounts At Peterson(2008 09)

  1. 1. My Experience as Coach of MATHCOUNTS PROGRAM @ Peterson Middle School Pankaj Kumar
  2. 2. MATHCOUNTS @ Peterson <ul><li>Who Am I? </li></ul><ul><li>What is MATHCOUNTS? </li></ul><ul><li>Why have a MATHCOUNTS Program? </li></ul><ul><li>How are MATHHCOUNTS problems different than, say, STAR Test problems? </li></ul><ul><li>Logistics of Running a MATHCOUNTS Program </li></ul><ul><li>What made it work? </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges I faced </li></ul>
  3. 3. All About Me <ul><li>An Involved Parent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My daughter is in 6 th Grade at Peterson </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A Software Engineer (tbp, Enterprise Architect) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work at Yahoo! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An Engineering graduate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>B. Tech. in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur (1989) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A math-o-phile </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Love numbers and mathematics </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is MATHCOUNTS ? <ul><li>A non-profit organization promoting mathematics among middle school students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Details at </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The cost of participation is nominal (less than $100) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Supports MATHCOUNTS programs in schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides questions and instructions for volunteer coaches </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conducts math competitions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitions are held at School, Chapter, State and National level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State and National winners get recognition and scholarships </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Why MATHCOUNTS? <ul><li>Differentiated learning </li></ul><ul><li>It is about problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Nurtures competitiveness </li></ul><ul><li>An opportunity for students </li></ul><ul><li>Is not </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help for homework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A tutoring program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition to Soccer practice </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How are MATHCOUNTS problems different from STAR Test? <ul><li>A Sample 7 th grade Problem from </li></ul><ul><li>California Released Tests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub division into rectangles is indicated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Numbers to be multiplied are small </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multiple choice </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. A MATHCOUNTS problem <ul><li>Needs to reason that the area of the shaded region is difference of the area of small square and triangle </li></ul><ul><li>Needs to compute height of the triangle by identifying two similar triangles </li></ul>
  8. 8. Logistics <ul><li>Announce the Program ( Sep. timeframe ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I created a program Flyer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collect Signups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A class of 30 is ideal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coaching sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly sessions of 60+ minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>School level competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At the end of January </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participation in Chapter level competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Top four get to participate </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. What made it work <ul><li>Tremendous support from School and SCUSD Administration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both Principal Mrs. Susan and GATE coordinator Mrs. Barbara were very supportive and involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School office took care of making copies of handouts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to a classroom after school hours </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yahoo! Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowed me to spend 2 hours every week </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Parent participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parents brought refreshments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequent e-mail communication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A dedicated webpage for problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is evolving into a real web application </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Challenges I Faced <ul><li>Little interest from 7 th and 8 th graders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Still puzzles me </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Culture Shock </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why be smart if it is not COOL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mechanics of paying the registration fee </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning how to work with beurocracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Un)suitability of the MATHCOUNTS problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I ended up designing my own problems </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Thank you!