Learners’ Maths smarts measured

2016-05-11 06:00

HIGH SCHOOL learners who made it through to the second round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad (Samo) will now test their problem-solving skills in the second leg of the olympiad.

Learners in gr. 4 to gr. 7 will also write the first round of the South African Mathematics Challenge (SAMC).

A record number of 86 045 learners of 1 040 schools participated in the first round of Samo on 9 March. About 17 104 learners of 795 schools who have attained 50% or higher qualified for the second round to be written on Wednesday (11/05).

There are two levels, junior (gr. 8 and gr. 9) and senior (gr. 10 to gr. 12), and learners have two hours to complete 20 questions.

The best 100 senior and best 100 junior learners from the second round qualify for the final round on 27 July.

The top three learners per province from each level will be recognised at their individual provincial awards in September.

The Department of Basic Education implemented the Maths, Science and Technology (MST) project in 2015 and a total of 211 primary and 503 secondary schools countrywide were selected. The project proactively encourages the development of critical subjects such as Mathematics and Science and caters for learners who are still underperforming in these subjects.

Joe Mwase, divisional director of corporate affairs at Liberty, the main sponsor of Samo, highlighted the importance of encouraging a love for Mathematics in young learners.

“Mathematics plays a critical role, not only as a subject allowing the youth of our country to provide scarce skills to our economy, but as a subject that stimulates analytical and problem-solving abilities in everyday life,” stated Mwase.

“By participating in the Samo, learners are pushing themselves beyond what would be required of them in the classrom.

“This extra effort will go far in contributing to their success in high school, their tertiary education and ultimately their professional careers.”

Speaking on behalf of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), co-sponsor of Samo, Chantyl Mulder, executive director of nation building, expressed Saica’s delight at the number of learners involved in this year’s olympiad and wished all the participants taking part in the second round good luck.

“Reaching the second round is a significant achievement that demonstrates not just a talent for mathematics and problem solving, but also your willingness to learn and challenge yourself,” said Mulder.

The first round of the SAMC is open to any gr. 4 to gr. 7 learner and will be written at participating schools from Monday (09/05) to Friday (13/05).

The challenge consists of separate papers for gr. 4, gr. 5, gr. 6 and gr. 7. Each paper will take an hour to complete and consists of 20 multiple choice questions.

The final round of the SAMC is for learners who achieve 50% or more in the first round. It is written at central venues or participating schools.

An important aim with the final round is for learners to interact with others in the context of mathematics as a social activity – participants communicate with and about mathematics.

Prof. Johann Engelbrecht, executive director at the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF), wished all the learners the best of luck.

“Advancing to the second round of Samo is a huge stepping stone to being one of the top mathematical minds in the country,” said Engelbrecht.

“All the primary school learners who are writing the SAMC should do their best to advance to the second round and once they get to high school they can also take part in Samo.”

The national SAMF awards will take place on 24 September and will honour learners, teachers and schools who have done well in Samo, SAMC and other SAMF projects throughout the year.

Samo and the SAMC are organised by the SAMF. For more information call 012-392-9372 or send an email to info@samf.ac.za.

The South African Mathematics Foundation

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