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How Are Your Problem Solving Skills?

Years 5-6 have been participating in the APSMO Challenge once more. Last year we achieved super results, and this year we have excelled!

The Australasian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiad has been operating since 1987. Each year thousands of schools participate in the competition from around Australia and New Zealand.

Last year we achieved super results, and this year we have excelled!

Our team consisted of thirty students (each volunteered for the team), but every student has taken part in the training and completed the Olympiad testing.

During the Term students have been learning a variety of problem-solving strategies and have solved some interesting, complex problems. This type of problem-solving allows our students to think ‘outside the box’ when approaching a problem that needs a solution.

As teachers we have noticed an increased perseverance during each session and this is resulting in our improved achievement across the students in these grades. Being able to read a question and understand a variety of methods to solve is a vitally important skill, and one which can be learned and developed. Mastering this skill allows our students to approach problems in a calm, logical manner.

In practice sessions, students are given a problem to solve with a partner. This allows them to apply knowledge they already have to a situation and discuss it. We then sit as a group and go over how we solved our questions and then teach one or two other ways the student could approach the problem. This sharing time gives us an opportunity to allow students to share their learning and ask questions to help clarify what they have learned. Our follow up session allows us to then solve some similar problems by ourselves.

Most students have really enjoyed these sessions and it is great to see them approach Mathematics with a positive, can-do enthusiasm.

We had over 76 % of our students in the top 25% of all the teams, and three of our students were in the top 2%! Approximately 15,000 students from around Australasia take part in the competition.

Students' Thoughts about APSMO

  • ‘Challenging and fun,’ Nathaniel told us.
  • Jeremy said, ‘It’s good and challenging’.
  • Isabelle said, ‘I liked it, some of the problems were hard but I worked them out’.
  • ‘It is a thing that takes time so don’t rush it,’ said Sarai.
  • ‘Keep on trying, never give up, don’t rush it,’ Riley reminded us.

As a teacher it is absolutely amazing to see the students so enthusiastic when doing APSMO. Bring on 2020!

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