Twelve squared minus 32 — or 112 — of Cayman Islands’ secondary school students demonstrated their mathematical ability at the 2018 Minds Inspired Mathematics Challenge in the Sir Vassel Johnson Multipurpose Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands on March 15–16.
The event attracted junior and senior high school students from private and public schools including Cayman International School, Cayman Prep and High School, Clifton Hunter High School, Grace Christian Academy, Hope Academy, John Gray High School, Layman E. Scott High School and St. Ignatius Catholic High School.
In its sixth year, the Maths Challenge tests students’ knowledge as well as their ability to collaborate in groups to solve problems. Both the Junior (Years 7–9; Grades 6–8) and Senior (Years 10–12; Grades 9–13) Maths Challenges include team challenges where the students are mixed with participants from other schools to solve complex math problems. The Junior Challenge includes a mathematics-based scavenger hunt that leads students around the UCCI campus, and requires that they demonstrate their teamwork and problem-solving abilities to complete the hunt.
“I am encouraged to see an increase in students who look for ways to challenge themselves academically,” said Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde. “Since Minds Inspired was founded, its mission has been to encourage more of Cayman’s students to challenge themselves through the STEM disciplines and as we celebrate our sixth Maths Challenge, it is clear that mission is being fulfilled.”
In the Junior Challenge, the overall champion Sky Wolfe from Hope Academy also took home the Year 8 award. The Year 7 award went to Tabitha Hawkins of Cayman International School and the Year 9 award went to Oliver Johns, also of Cayman International School.
St. Ignatius Catholic School won the school team event, the math scavenger hunt.
The junior mixed team winners were Abigail Rose from John Gray High School, Charlotte Dowell from Clifton Hunter High School and Nicholas McCallum from Cayman Prep and High School.
In the Senior Challenge, Alex Cummer from Cayman International School was named overall champion and Year 12 winner. Selina Zhu and Charlotte Hodkin of Cayman Prep and High School took the Year 11 and Year 13 awards respectively.
The winning mixed team comprised Year 11 winner Selina Zhu, alongside Sadie Finch from Cayman International School and Alwayne Allen of John Gray High School.
The overall Junior and Senior Champions were each awarded $200 Camana Bay gift cards and the honour of having their names permanently added to the Mathematics Challenge trophy.
Year group winners received $100 Camana Bay gift cards and medals; team challenge winners received $50 gift cards and medals. St. Ignatius Catholic School received robotics kits for winning the mathematics scavenger hunt.
Dart Education Programmes Manager Glenda McTaggart said the level of engagement with the Maths Challenge increases every year.
“It is now an official part of math teachers’ annual planning, and students are encouraged to start their preparation early by doing past exam papers and practice questions,” she said. “I am proud of the Maths Challenge’s popularity and the level of enthusiasm participants have for competitive mathematics.”