National Young Mathematicians' Award 2013

Stage: 2

For the fourth year running, NRICH worked with Explore Learning to create the National Young Mathematicians' Award (NYMA) 2013. 

Teams of four primary children from schools across the UK competed at regional events before five were selected to come to NRICH HQ in Cambridge for the final.  The five finalists were:

Ashton House, Hounslow
Stalyhill Juniors, Stalybridge
Hillview, Bournemouth
The Queen's School, Chester
Burpham Primary, Guildford

And the winners were ... Stalyhill Juniors!  Well done!

The tasks used in the preliminary rounds were The Dice Train and Ribbon Squares.  We hope that you will enjoy having a go at them, even if you didn't take part in the YMA.

The problem used in the final was Cover the Tray.

What were we looking for?
Teams were judged on two things: excellent team work and mathematical thinking.

Team working
Three great things about the winning team:
1.The winning team had great listening skills - they really tried hard to understand each others' ideas and build on them.
2.They knew how to give out roles and use the time as effectively as possible.
3. They were more engrossed in the mathematics than spending time preparing a detailed presentation. Because they had all worked so hard at understanding what was going on in the problem and how the team thinking was developing, it was easy for them to produce a presentation of their work.

This article gives some ideas about what we mean by good team work and NRICH activities that help develop those skills.

Mathematical Thinking
Three great things about the winning team:
1. They demonstrated arithmetic proficiency: they were easily able to do all the calculations needed, and this left them plenty of 'brain space' to think about the problem.
2. They knew how to use trial and improvement to help them solve the problem. They tried a possible solution and then chose the next one to try by using the information that they had gained from the first one to decide what to try.
3. They made sure that they all understood the task early on by using practical apparatus to help them and then they pursued a solution by keeping focussed on the question.

Interested in participating?
If you are interested in participating in future years, you may find it helpful to have a go at the activities listed here.

You may also wish to look at the activities which have featured in previous years' competitions:
2010 - Button-up, Button-up Some More, Curious Number and Inky Cube
2011 - Walking the Squares, So It's Times, It's Times Again and Building with Rods
2012 - For details see this page