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Math Olympiad for Elementary School Students

Prerequisites: Qualifying math score and completion of grade 4 math

Course Format: Individually Paced

Course Length: 3 months

Course Code: OL1

Course Description


This Math Olympiad course is designed to teach the major strategies of problem solving, to foster mathematical creativity, and to stimulate enthusiasm and love for the types of problems that students encounter in competitive mathematics.

Each student is assigned to a CTY instructor to help them during their course. Students can contact their instructor via email with any questions or concerns at any time. Live one-on-one online review sessions can also be scheduled to prepare for the graded assessments, which include homework, quizzes, and a cumulative final exam.

Topics include:

  • Drawing a Picture or Diagram
  • Using Deduction
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Simplification
  • Finding a Pattern
  • Making an Organized List
  • Making a Table
  • Using Number Operations
  • Working Backwards
  • Basic Geometry
  • Estimation and Elimination

For a detailed list of topics, click the List of Topics tab.

Math Olympiad course banner

Materials Needed

There are no required materials for this course.

List of Topics

This course is designed to teach the major strategies of problem solving, to foster mathematical creativity, and to stimulate enthusiasm and love for the types of problems that students encounter in competitive mathematics. Students explore math topics and strategies in depth, and practice non-routine contest problems. The web-based virtual classroom provides interactive experiences for students. Students and instructors meet in the virtual classroom for problem solving, clarification of concepts, and group sessions.

The following problem solving strategies will be covered in this course:

Topic 1: Drawing a Picture or Diagram

Both theoretical and applied problems will be used to show how a sketch helps to make sense of and model a problem.

Topic 2: Using Deduction

Students will apply principles of logic to solve classic riddles, such as those involving colored hats and identity of the truth-teller, in addition to non-routine math problems.

Topic 3: Elementary Number Theory

Prime numbers, factorization, greatest common factor, and least common multiple will be introduced and explored in ways that build stronger number sense.

Topic 4: Simplification

Students will learn techniques for decreasing the number and complexity of calculations for simplifying problems involving whole number operations, complex fractions, factorials, and exponents.

Topic 5: Finding a Pattern

Students will investigate patterns involving time, additive number sequences, and repeated multiplication.

Topic 6: Making a List

This topic expands on strategies for making lists for counting and arrangements, along with divisibility and remainders, laying a solid foundation for later work with more formal concepts in modular arithmetic, number theory and combinatorics.

Topic 7: Making a Table

Students use tables to compare unknown quantities in an organized way to test possible solutions, which serves as a basis for more algebraic methods in subsequent coursework.

Topic 8: Using Number Operations

Students will broaden their understanding of number operations and factors as they apply methods to solve for unknown digits and complete magic squares.

Topic 9: Working Backwards

This topic exposes students to various situations for which beginning at a given result and working backwards is the best strategy.

Topic 10: Basic Geometry

Students develop their ability to change visual perspective as they consider various approaches to non-routine area and perimeter problems.

Topic 11: Estimation and Elimination

Strong estimation skills are often required in making sense of problems and checking reasonableness of solutions. In this topic, students apply their number sense to make estimates as they narrow the number of possible solutions to problems involving exponents, divisibility, and remainders.

Virtual Classroom Session Times

Session Times

A weekly strategy session will be held online every Monday evening from 7 - 8 p.m. ET. Attendance is optional and all sessions are recorded so students can watch them at a later time. Instructions and details are posted on the course website for enrolled students.

Technical Requirements

All CTY Online Programs courses require a properly-maintained computer with Internet access and a recent-version web browser (such as Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer). Students are expected to be familiar with standard computer operations (e.g. login, cut & paste, email attachments, etc).

This course uses an online classroom for individual or group discussions with the instructor. The classroom works on standard computers with the Adobe Flash plugin, and also tablets or handhelds that support the Adobe Connect Mobile app.