In 2022 at OLMC we have the introduction of a new Mathematics Club for Year 8 students, called the Number Ninjas.
This group is for students looking to enhance their problem-solving skills and embracing all sorts of mathematical challenges that can be sliced and diced with glee, delight and of course, there is the sheer satisfaction that comes from the journey towards and the reaching of a solution.
The Number Ninjas are participating in nationwide competitions, beginning with the Australian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiad (APSMO), which in the theme of the Olympics, consists of five short quizzes, each one consisting of five problem solving questions that are to be answered without calculators. The problems are not related to any specific topic from the curriculum, but rather from broad aspects of Mathematics, including counting techniques and spatial problems. Often the students need to develop their strategies and techniques such as trial and error, looking for patterns or creating a diagram or a table in order to get started on the problem.
The other nationwide competition the group will be undertaking is the Mathematical Challenge, conducted by the Australian Mathematical Trust. For this competition, the students must work through a series of six extended problems and have three weeks to develop solutions.
The Number Ninjas meet fortnightly and have already developed a high sense of enthusiasm to work through problems ranging from simple puzzles to the more challenging ‘head-scratching’ problems. It is wonderful to be able to provide an opportunity for students to gather and work fervently on Mathematical problems at this level, and hopefully reap the rewards of competition results, or at the very least have a lot of fun with like-minded students whilst enriching their problem-solving abilities.
Sample problem for you to try (without a calculator):