One hundred and sixty students from 26 schools across the UAE have taken part in the fourth annual inter-school Mathalon Competition, organised by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).
The 2013 competition was won by American School of Dubai (ASD), who beat two-time winner, International School of Choueifat, to take home the rolling trophy this year. ASD teams took both first and second places, with third place going to Indian High School Dubai.
Mathalon was founded in 2005 as a means of encouraging students to take an interest in Maths and to make the subject fun. It began as a simple intra-class event for one Maths teacher, and has now grown into a prestigious inter-school competition, attracting schools from across other Emirates, as well as Dubai.
Ms Zeenath Reza Khan, founder of Mathalon and Logistics Coordinator for the event said, “We believe in student-centred learning environments that empower the students to become independent learners and grow interest in the subjects they take, rather than memorising basic concepts, and for this reason, our steering committee not only consists of Maths teachers, but also Alumni members and teachers from the Business faculty, who come together in order to help create such a unique environment for the participants.”
This year saw 73 teams of year 11 and year 12 students test their skills in a number of challenging mathematical disciplines. Welcoming the teams, Mr Nawar al Hakeem, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, told the participants that the standards of the competition were improving every year and this year’s tests would be the most challenging yet.
The groups went on to take part in a 45-minute paper-based exercise, testing their skills in a range of subject areas, including functions, probability, trigonometry, logarithms and basic geometry. As the students competed, 28 Maths teachers from participating schools took part in the annual Teacher’s Forum, which this year focussed on how to improve content delivery in the teaching of Maths.
“As part of our community outreach programs, I believe Mathalon has succeeded in bringing together Maths enthusiasts under one roof,” commented Mr Nawar al Hakeem, Steering Committee Coordinator of Mathalon 2013. “Even the Teachers' Forum drew serious interests from the Maths coaches on the possibilities of using various technologies and applications to make teaching Maths fun and interesting for their students.”
Following the competition, the students and teachers came together to join in a fun, team-building exercise with the Dubai Drums group, after which the teams reconvened to await the competition results. Congratulating all teams on their efforts in the competition, Dr Mohamed Salem, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering presented the top three teams with their Certificates of Achievement and the American School of Dubai received the overall competition trophy. The top three winning teams were awarded 50%, 30% and 20% scholarships respectively for undergraduate degrees at UOWD.
Mr Jasper S. Adviento, Coach of the winning teams from ASD said, “The mission of our school is to challenge and inspire each student to achieve their dreams and to become a passionate learner. This competition reflects those principles, as it provides an opportunity for students to be challenged amongst their peers, and the university setting allows them to gain an insight into what the next phase of their learning will entail.”