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Math Olympiad for Elementary School Students

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Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math score required

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Grade 4 Mathematics or equivalent

Course Format: Individually Paced

Course Length: Typically 3 months

Course Code: OL1

Course Description

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.

This course includes notes, practice problems, assessments, and videos for each topic covered to allow students to learn and review both the material and problem-solving skills.  Videos are provided by Art of Problem Solving.   As students progress through the course, they will complete free response questions and timed practice exams to help them build experience using strategies that will be useful for real competitions. 

Each student is assigned to a CTY instructor to support them and give feedback during their course. Students can contact their instructor via email with any questions or concerns at any time. Live one-on-one online sessions can also be scheduled to prepare for the graded assessments, which include homework, quizzes, and a cumulative final exam. In addition, there are weekly group strategy sessions run by an instructor, where students will learn together.

The 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.

Topics include:

  • Drawing a Picture or Diagram
  • Using Deduction
  • 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.

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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: 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 4: Finding a Pattern

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

Topic 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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 8: Working Backwards

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

Topic 9: Basic Geometry

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

Topic 10: 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.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

This course uses an online virtual classroom for discussions with the instructor. The classroom works on standard computers with the Adobe Connect Add-in or Adobe Flash plugin, and also tablets or handhelds that support the Adobe Connect Mobile appStudents who are unable to attend live sessions will need a computer with the Adobe Connect Add-in or Adobe Flash plugin installed to watch recorded meetings. The Adobe Connect Add-in, Adobe Flash plugin, and Adobe Connect Mobile app are available for free download. Students who do not have the Flash plug-in installed or enabled on their browsers will be prompted to download and install the Adobe Connect add-in when accessing the virtual classroom.