Students in Grades 1 through 12 will come to Brandon University to compete in the Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest Sunday.
The annual contest, based on the Math Kangaroo contests that originated in France in 1991, was first held in Ottawa in 2001, and has since grown to become a national event, with over 40 contest sites across Canada in 2017.
In each contest, competitors are split into six age-based groups and given mathematical and logic problems to solve, under varying difficulties and time limits depending on their groups.
“The purpose behind the contest is to try to get...kids more excited about mathematics and problem-solving,” said Dr. Gautam Srivastava, BU assistant professor and organizer of BU’s site for the contest, who also mentioned generating interest in BU among high school students and “growing whatever sciences we have in the community” as motivation for bringing the contest to BU.
Srivastava later mentioned, “It becomes a good way for the students to get involved in something outside of school, [when] most of the extracurricular activities that are offered at schools tend to be more geared towards...arts and sports...If you have a student that isn’t good at sports and doesn’t like [the] arts, how do they get involved...what do they do as an extracurricular [activity]?”
Though this year marks only the second year that BU has held a site for the contest, it has already been home to top-level competitors in the contest’s past, with École Harrison student Walker Stie tying for 38th place out of nearly 600 Grade 5 competitors across Canada in 2016’s contest – an exploit for which he was awarded a national gold medal.
BU will also introduce a training session for the contest starting this year, which takes place on Wednesday evening. Srivastava claimed the training session will be “a way for some of the kids to interact with each other, parents to get to know each other – again, trying to grow science in the community.”
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 26, March 21, 2017.