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Great Mathematicians love a challenge

On Wednesday, January 31st, the corridors echoed with the rustle of question papers as students from Year 9 to Year 11 participated in the Intermediate Mathematical Challenge (IMC), organized by the UK Maths Trust (UKMT). This 60-minute, 25 multiple-choice question challenge is more than just an assessment; it's a journey into the depths of mathematical reasoning and precision of thought.

The IMC isn't just another test; it's an opportunity for students to push their boundaries, to think beyond the ordinary, and to embrace the beauty of mathematics. With problems designed to ignite curiosity and challenge even the most experienced mathematicians, the IMC encourages participants to navigate through a labyrinth of numerical puzzles, fostering not only fluency in mathematical concepts but also resilience in problem-solving.

Nahom, a Year 9 student and Bronze Award winner, shares his enthusiasm: "The maths challenge is an amazing way to test and challenge young mathematician's brains. It was very enjoyable." For Christopher, also a Year 9 student and Gold Award winner, the challenge was not only good but a stepping stone to the next round, showcasing his prowess in mathematical aptitude.

For many students like Mersiha, the IMC was a transformative experience, broadening their perspectives on mathematics. "It broadened my views on maths; there's so much more to learn," she reflects. Such sentiments resonate with numerous participants who found the challenge to be a catalyst for growth, pushing them beyond their comfort zones and opening doors to new mathematical horizons.

Even amidst the challenges, there's a prevailing sense of fulfillment and excitement. Mehwish, a Year 9 student, admits, "It was quite challenging, but it was a good experience and it was fun to prepare for." This sentiment echoes the sentiment of many participants who embraced the difficulties of the IMC as opportunities for growth and learning.

The benefits of participating in the IMC extend beyond the test day. It fosters critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and resilience —skills that are invaluable not only in mathematics but also in various aspects of life. The IMC serves as a platform for students to showcase their mathematical prowess and to be recognized for their achievements.

To recognize the remarkable achievements of participants, the UKMT awards the top-scoring 50% of participants with Bronze, Silver, and Gold certificates, along with badges for those who are 'Best in Year' or 'Best in School.' Additionally, all participants receive a Certificate of Participation, acknowledging their dedication and effort.

The IMC is not merely a competition; it's a celebration of mathematical ingenuity and a testament to the limitless potential of young minds. With over 700,000 young people participating each year, the IMC continues to inspire and challenge students, igniting a passion for mathematics that transcends borders and boundaries.

As the IMC paves the way for follow-on rounds like the Grey and Pink Kangaroos, it continues to be a beacon of excellence, inviting students to embark on a journey of discovery and exploration. Through the IMC, students not only solve problems but also uncover the beauty and elegance inherent in mathematics, transforming challenges into triumphs and dreams into realities.

The Junior Maths Challenge (JMC) took place for our Year 7 and 8 students. The JMC gives an opportunity for our younger students to push their boundaries, to think beyond the ordinary, and to embrace the beauty of mathematics. With similar problems to the IMC designed to ignite curiosity and challenge even the most experienced mathematicians. The JMC puzzles, foster critical thinking and abstract approaches to problems. Success through problem solving and creative approaches shines a light on the talent that may be overlooked during the routine curriculum, bringing to the fore previously unknown talents.

The JMC results have again shown the depth of talent and skill within NUAST, the highest performing students coming from Year 7 which all bodes well for the future of mathematics. Our Gold certificate winners from Year 7 and 8 are, Ayla, Ian, Ashtalfa and Best in School Mehek. A huge well done to the four of you for an excellent achievement.

We look forward to seeing them repeat the performance in the coming years alongside their colleagues who will no doubt want to match their achievements.

June 2024

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