The Ontario Mathematics Olympiad, (OMO) is an annual mathematics competition featuring teams of the best grade 7 and 8 math students from across Ontario. This year’s Olympiad featured 124 students (31 teams of 4) who completed 4 contests, one of which included a logical thinking challenge featuring specially designed Chocolate Fix puzzles!
The following guest post is by Jeff Irwin, Contest Committee Chair for the OMO 2010 Venncouver Olympics
For the Ontario Math Olympics, contests are created to challenge teams of 4 students. These teams are the regional champions from all of Ontario. It was our hope to create a series of contests that both challenged the Mathlete and were fun to complete.
As part of a Basketball challenge, Chocolate Fix provided the ideal logical thinking exercise. The Basketball event consisted of 4 quarters (challenges) that were completed as a team. The four quarters were 1. a manipulative logic puzzle, *Chocolate Fix, 2. a graph match challenge using TI-84’s and a CBR unit, 3. a design challenge using cube-a-links, and 4. an optimization problem.
The fact that Chocolate Fix is as logic puzzle that uses physical manipulatives instead of pencil and paper appealed to the Contest Committee. The team saw the challenge sheet, then had to communicate amongst themselves to place each chocolate piece in the correct position. As the students rotated through the four quarters of the Basketball event, you could hear the excitement as they completed each Chocolate Fix challenge!
All teams enjoyed the Chocolate Fix activity and when there was extra time at the end of the contest rotation, the teams often tackled the regular challenges. Throughout lunch and during breaks students could be overheard discussing how much they enjoyed this event!
As a side note, my enthusiasm for ThinkFun games convinced other organizing committee members to purchase and distribute 20 ThinkFun games as thank-you gifts to our high school cabin counselors. It was their role to help students from across the province bond as cabin mates and ensure that teams arrived at the correct contest on time… so now 20 more families will have the opportunity to enjoy ThinkFun products!
A full set of contests is available on the OMO website which can be accessed by following the links on www.oame.on.ca. Thank you once again for all your support in this endeavor!