Jump into Kangaroo Math

kangaroo math
If you have a fascination with numbers – an obsession with counting – a passion for mathematics – here is a challenge you won’t want to miss!

Powell River VIU campus is hosting the annual Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest – a Canada wide challenge for students Grades 1 to 12 – to be held on March 20th across the country.

With 27 contest locations in 10 provinces, local organizer Robert Krausz is pretty pleased that Powell River VIU made the map. “This is the first time ever that this has happened in Powell River,” he said. “It’s our first opportunity as a host location. I think it’s kind of neat, we’re one of the smallest towns in Canada to host the contest.”

Founded in 1991 in France, the Mathematical Kangaroo was based on an Australian Model of a national competition. Its purpose was to provide students with cross-cultural math fun and knowledge. It quickly spread across Europe and the world. In 2015, more than 6 million students from grade 1 to 12, from over 50 countries around the world, participated in the contest. Among them, there were 4197 Canadian students.

Krausz, chair of the ABE department at Powell River VIU, was responsible for bringing the popular mathematics program to Powell River. “I was introduced to it in Calgary and found it was a fun and interesting way to bring mathematics into every day life,” he said. “I thought why not find out if we can host this competition in Powell River and they’ve been great about it. There’s absolutely no pressure on us to have high numbers of students taking part. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about encouraging students and challenging them.”

Krausz says the Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest website has all the information students need to register and get started on preparing for the competition. “There are sample tests from previous years to give you an idea of what sort of questions will be asked and online training is available,” he said. “The $17 test fee is subsidized if the student is registered within the PR School District and the contest is also open to students who are home-schooled or who go to private schools. The tests are available in both English and French.”

Sample test questions support Krausz’ claim that “it’s not like regular curriculum math, it challenges you in different ways.”

Here’s a sample:

how many triangles

Now, try this one:

Mother did the laundry and hanged t-shirts in line on a clothing line. Then she asked her children to put a single sock between any two t-shirts. Now there are 29 pieces of clothing on the line. How many t-shirts are there on the line?

(A) 10    (B)  11   (C)  13   (D)  14   (E)  15

The answer to the first question is (C) 5 and the answer to the second question is (E) 15. The first question came from a sample for Grade 1-2 students while the second question was for students in Grades 9-10.

Once students register online, they can study and prepare for the competition on Saturday, March 20th at Powell River VIU campus. “All the students right across the country sit down to the test at the same time,” Krausz said. “So we have an early 10:00 am start in Powell River but back in New Brunswick or Newfoundland it’s mid afternoon.”

While the purpose of the competition is to introduce youngsters from grade 1 to grade 12 to math challenges in a fun and enjoyable way, Krausz has a long-term vision, too. “I would really like to see a good response to this competition,” he said. “VIU is a post secondary institution and at this time we don’t offer any mathematics or science courses. But I have faith if people get engaged with math that would change, and this might be something that awakens their interest.”

For more information or to register for the Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest, visit mathkangaroocanada.ca.


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