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American School of Dubai retains top spot at UOWD annual maths competition

Tuesday, 22 April, 2014

Over 120 students took part in the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) fifth annual school Mathalon Competition, which this year saw the American School of Dubai (ASD) take the top two places for the second year in a row.

Teams of year 11 and year 12 students from schools across the UAE competed in a gruelling marathon to solve 22 maths problems in just 45 minutes, making it one of the toughest challenges in the history of the competition so far.

Repeating their 2013 success, teams from ASD took the champion and runner-up positions to take home the rolling trophy, while this year’s third place was awarded to a team from GEMS World Academy. The students impressed the judges with the speed and intelligence they displayed in solving some highly complicated maths problems.

The winning team comprised of Chanchee Jeon  and Sinwoo Jeon from ASD, while the second place partnership were Vinay Ramesh and Sang Yeop Jung also from ASD. The third place was claimed by Aitash Deepak, and Jaemoo Ahn from GEMS World Academy. The top three teams were awarded 50%, 30% and 20% scholarships respectively for undergraduate degrees programs at UOWD.

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 contest and has since grown into a prestigious inter-school competition, attracting schools from across other Emirates, as well as Dubai.

Speaking at the annual Teacher’s Forum, which takes place alongside the Mathalon Competition each year, Dean of UOWD’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences Professor Mohamed Salem said, “Because the teaching of maths has traditionally been largely theoretical, it has been a challenge to stimulate an enthusiasm for the subject, with some students struggling to cope with certain concepts.

“By making mathematics fun, and moreover, relating it to real-life situations through the scenarios tested in the competition, we have found that students are more engaged and can visualise the benefit of learning the subject in their future professional development.”

This year at the forum, Mr R Jayasankar, a maths teacher from The Indian High School, Dubai gave a talk on the importance of using technology in teaching difficult mathematical concepts through an interactive presentation using Autograph software.

Following the competition the students and teachers came together to join in a fun exercise with the Dubai Drums group, where they had the opportunity to interact with students from competitor schools in a team-building environment, before the announcement of the competition results.

Having coached the top teams for two consecutive years, Mr Jasper S. Adviento, a maths teacher at ASD, spoke of the importance of such competitions in helping students realise their academic and professional potential.

Mr Adviento said, “Our aim at ASD is to challenge every student to be the best they can be and realise their potential in all aspects of life. We are grateful to UOWD for providing this opportunity, which supports our vision and visibly inspires our students and encourages them to thrive in an academic environment.”  

Founder of the Mathalon Competition and Instructor at UOWD, Ms Zeenath Reza Khan, said, “We at UOWD believe in a student-centred learning approach that helps our students discover the fun of learning.  One such initiative is organising healthy competitions, which statistics suggest always improve student performance. Mathalon is one such initiative that never fails to surprise us at the level of school students’ dedication, motivation, integrity and competiveness.

We are happy to be able to host the competition year after year, bringing together students from varying curricula under one roof to face-off each other and to test their mettle in mathematics. We hope to see more participation in the coming years.”