Eat, sleep, math, repeat. PVNC Math Olympics returns after four years

2023 Math Olympics

April 24, 2023

“We can do hard things” is etched into one student’s ruler from St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Douro. Quick glances from all players at the timer at the front of the room and hushed problem solving as students from across the Board participate in the PVNC Math Olympics for the first time in four years.

Over the past month, the Catholic Education Centre has hosted separate events for Intermediate, Junior, and Grade 3 and 4 students to participate in multiple team and partner math challenges. 

“We’re so excited to have our students back here for the first time in four years, we haven’t been able to do this since 2019,” says student achievement consultant Sandra Connolly. Fifteen schools sent teams to the competition, Connolly added. 

Each team participated in three events that involved working in pairs or as an entire team to solve problems exploring different areas of mathematics. Each event was not only scored on accuracy of results, but judges also took into consideration the team’s communication skills with their explanations on how they got to an answer.

St. Mother Teresa CES student Matthew Cooper reflected on his experience of the day excitedly.. “I definitely hope to come back next year. My favourite part about working with a team was being able to have a fun experience with math problems with the game Rush Hour, we didn’t just have to answer questions on a piece of paper and had the chance to solve puzzles by moving pieces.” 

With a focus on fostering teamwork, the Math Olympics has an underlying goal of encouraging students to develop strong problem-solving skills and realize math is not “boring,” Connolly said. 

“After this, I hope that students see math as more than just arithmetic,” Connolly said. “It’s not just sitting at a desk with a calculator. It can be found in a variety of different places and done in different ways with friends.”

As the competition continued throughout the day, parents of students watched on as awards were announced and handed out. 

Connolly had a great piece of advice for students as they silently awaited the final results: “When you go back to your school, and your principal asks ‘How did you do?’, and if you didn’t place in first, second, or third, you’re going to say ‘I came in fourth’. All of you are worthy of receiving a place in this competition.”

Check out the winners of each day below:

St. Joseph Douro CES: Intermediate Gold

St. Catherine CES: Intermediate Silver

St. Teresa CES: Intermediate Bronze

St. Teresa CES: Junior Bronze

St. Mother Teresa CES: Junior Silver

Good Shepherd CES: Junior Gold

St. Joseph Bowmanvile CES: Grade 3/4 Gold

St. Teresa CES: Grade 3/4 Silver

St. Paul Norwood CES: Grade 3/4 Bronze