On 26 May, students of MGCI had an opportunity to show off their mathematical talents in the library from 9 am to 3 pm. It was the very first Marc Garneau Mathematics Tournament. Five schools all across the city were represented by 48 competitors, 18 of those from MGCI. Participants solved problems in set teams of six in three rounds. This student organized event was a success with well over 60 people packed in the MGCI library.
The competition was organized by Ms. Tam, Jerry Wu, Richard Du, Frieda Rong, Andrey Khesin, and Jennifer Guo. The organizers were responsible for the creation of the math problems. Other MGCI volunteers helped with other logistical elements to make the tournament successful. Those who were involved in the creation of the questions were not competitors in the contest. Schools that squared off included Satec from South Scarborough, Dr. Norman Bethune C.I. from North Scarborough, schools from Pickering and Mississauga, and of course, Marc Garneau. Three different rounds, similar to an American math competition, ARML, meant intensive efforts as a team to garner victory.
The first round was the relay. This consisted of each team splitting themselves into two groups of three. Each person in the team of three is given a different math problem, and the second and third contestants must use the answer given to them from the previous contestant. This meant that if a mistake was made by any of the three competitors, it affected the entire team’s score. Points are awarded to teams with the correct answer.
The second round was the team round. Teams had one hour to work on twenty five different math problems. The problems range in difficulty and the difficulty level corresponded with the points awarded. This round lasted until 1pm. The difficulty of the problems can be compared with the easiest problems on the Pascal level (Grade 9 Contest), then increasing in difficulty to Euclid (Grade 12 Contest), AMC (American 10/12 Contest), and finally the hardest, AIME (Invitational contest only for top scorers of AMC).
The final round was the guts round where teams are given six sets of four problems. Problems in each set are worth the same points, but the point value for each set increases. A team only receives problems of the next set when they submit the previous set.
Throughout the competition, teams’ points were displayed on a screen. In the end, Pickering High School won first overall, and the two teams from MGCI obtained second and third places. “It was nice to do math for an entire day,” says Thinula de Silva, a Grade 9 participant, “It was quite fun.” Communication within the team was very important in the team round and guts round. A strong team spirit allowed everyone to have fun, and made the tournament a good experience overall. The math contest was successful and will not be soon forgotten.