24 Nov 2020

Maths Olympiad Training

The seventh session of Maths Olympiad Training (MOT) led by Isaac Lee (12D2), Sophia Li (12X2), and Oscar Lee (12D2) was held on October 30, 2020. Enthusiastic students and Y12 teachers alike contributed to another successful session filled with mathematical delights and geometric insights.

MOT is a weekly CAS activity held over Zoom that aims to improve student performance in maths competitions. Its founder, Isaac Lee, started the club because he “really enjoyed maths and wanted to try teaching it”. Through teaching, he has found that not only could he improve his communication skills, he could also refine his understanding of various tricky maths concepts.

Since its inception, MOT has attracted a diverse and committed group of more than twenty students ranging from Years 7 to 10, who all share a passion for maths. Jeffrey Tang (9P1), one of the participants, expressed his reasons for joining the club saying, “I like challenging maths but didn’t have an opportunity to do it on a consistent basis”. He also shared that the best way of learning maths for him is by being taught by a teacher, which is why he attends MOT instead of using websites and textbooks.

This Friday’s lesson was about various triangle properties which started with a thought-provoking opening problem that intrigued students and made them “shout out” answers in the chat-box. Teachers then teasingly moved onto the main lesson, tantalizing students that they would only gain the skills to uncover the answer if they paid attention. The lesson then proceeded systematically, with teachers talking through a concept and students trying questions to solidify their understanding. This process would then repeat for the next concept, and so on.

The lesson had a lively and productive atmosphere. Teachers instructed in a clear and lighthearted manner that was engaging and well-paced; students encouraged each other and actively participated through voice chat, asking questions if they were unsure. Therefore, it’s no surprise that according to a survey done a week before, students reflected that they generally learnt a fair amount of new maths skills every lesson and were satisfied with their time spent.

After the lesson, the proactive Year 12 teachers gathered to discuss areas of improvement. They planned to make use of the breakout rooms in Zoom to increase discussion – they wanted even more students to take an active role in their learning. Indeed, as Isaac remarks: “You don’t have to be an active maths competitor to benefit from this activity, excelling under time pressure and thinking analytically are skills vital to the 21st century.” So why not give MOT a try?

By Evan Yang (12X2)

Copy edited by Dorothy Ho (12P1)