Release Date: March 2, 2007
Media Contact: Stephen King, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5632
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
Fax: (306) 585.4997
Students to do some serious number-crunching in math competition at U of R this weekend
The University of Regina’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics is always a flurry of mathematical activity, but this weekend, the number-crunching will be a little different than usual. The “value of x” won’t be found by faculty members or university students – instead, it will be calculated by Saskatchewan elementary and high school students competing in an annual math competition.

Throughout the day on Saturday, March 3, approximately 250 students from around the province will take part in the Saskatchewan Math Challenge being held at the U of R. The one-day competition will consist of three parts: one individual round and two team rounds. Participants will compete as teams of three to five students.

The competition is a joint venture between the U of R and the University of Saskatchewan, as well as the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers Society (SMTS). The location of the competition alternates each year between the two universities. This year, it is the U of R’s turn to host the event.

“The goal of the competition is to give students the opportunity to test their problem-solving skills in a setting that is both co-operative and competitive,” says Stephen Kirkland, head of the U of R’s department of Mathematics and Statistics. “In the past, many participants have told us that they enjoy the camaraderie and excitement that comes from spending the day with hundreds of like-minded students, These are some of the brightest young minds in the province, and it’s important for them to enjoy being on campus for a day to experience an educational setting that is greatly different from their own. It gives them a little taste of what they can expect when they go to university.”

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration, which will be followed by instructions and the three rounds of competition. After completing the competition, students will enjoy a pizza lunch, along with discussions of how certain problems were solved. The grade 9 and 10 students will then take a tour of the U of R’s facilities, while the grade 8 students will participate in a mathematical scavenger hunt called “the Banana Sundae Challenge.” The day will end with an awards ceremony where students with the top scores are recognized for their excellent performance.

The success of the annual Saskatchewan Math Challenge is due to the many volunteers, including teachers, SMTS executive, Department of Mathematics and Statistics faculty, student markers and student tour ambassadors. The event would not be possible without the funding provided by the following: Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers Society, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the U of R, the U of R’s Faculties of Science, Education and Engineering, the Canadian Mathematics Society, and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.

The Saskatchewan Math Challenge is open to all grade 8, 9 and 10 students in Saskatchewan. In previous years, participants in the finals have come from Clavet, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Pelly, Cupar, McLean, Ponteix, Christopher Lake, Regina, Lloydminster, Redvers, Yorkton, Eastend and Assiniboia.

To learn more about this Saturday’s competition, please call Barb Pidkowich at 539-2402.