On May 19 and 20, a Keystone delegation of eight Grade 6-8 students competed in the ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools) Mathematics Competition held at the British School of Beijing. Divided into two teams and led by Mathematics teacher Prisana Heaton, our students competed against 21 teams from various international schools and worked together diligently to solve as many math problems as they could.
Leading up to the ACAMIS event, the students prepared for the competition over the course of six consecutive weeks. “We had forty Grades 6 to 8 students try out and we could only choose 8 students. We chose the students based off of their performance in preliminary math relay trials held at Keystone,” said Ms. Heaton.
The Keystone ACAMIS competition delegation also participated in Ms. Heaton’s Mathematics KAP during which Grades 6 to 8 students meet to work on solving word problems, simple and complex mathematical equations, and hold serious discussions around math topics for several hours a week. One incentive for entering this year’s competition was for Keystone students to gain more exposure to word problems, and to practice solving them.
“We don’t do enough word problems in class, and students definitely gained more exposure to that because of this competition. The kids are able to solve these seemingly unfamiliar problems outside of classroom and see how what they’ve learned in class can be applied to these real-world problems,” remarked Ms. Heaton.
“Doing math problems in word form allows the students to think about the different elements and pieces. It’s almost like a puzzle. When a student is trying to solve word problems, there are so many elements to them and students must think about the process of solving the problem and decipher what the words mean, and really what the problem is asking. It’s not as straightforward as people think. Class work is straightforward, but word problems require of them to have extensive prior knowledge, a solid foundation, and possess a curious mind.”
Over the course of two days, the student delegation worked together seamlessly to solve as many math problems as they possibly could. There were a total of six rounds throughout the competition, with each round containing between twenty to twenty-five questions, and students were given only thirty minutes to answer each question. Divided into two teams, equally composed of students from Grades 6 to 8, the students received 1st and 5th place in the competition.
“I was very proud of the students. These were very long days and they were so determined. Our kids did not complain about the number of problems and they were very engaged throughout the whole competition. We had no idea what to expect as this was our first year participating in the competition. They persevered and showcased their strength and I am looking forward to entering the competition again next year!” said Ms. Heaton enthusiastically.