Nothing Can Stop Math Contests, Not Even a Pandemic

Math contests have been in full swing this year—even with the pandemic! “Of course, all of the competitions have been held online this year,” said Mr. Middleton. Even though they have moved online, that hasn’t stopped our students from participating.

The first contest took place in early November and was the prestigious UNM-PNM Statewide Math Contest for students in grades 6–12. Of all the math contests, this one best aligned with Bosque School’s approach to math learning, requiring students to tackle ten novel and extremely challenging problems over three hours. “Rather than focusing on speed and rote application of skills, the exam encourages deep thinking, multiple approaches, and perseverance,” Mr. Middleton explained. “Bosque School students always do well in this competition, and this year was no exception.” Six Bobcats—Imani ‘23, Aldo ‘22, Paolo ‘22, Tahir ‘22, Saskia ‘21, and Victoria ‘21— scored well enough to be invited to the even more challenging second round held Saturday, February 6.

The next contest was the American Mathematics Competition 8, or AMC 8, from the Mathematical Association of America for middle school students on Wednesday, November 11. This contest is nationally recognized and involves a mixture of speed with advanced skills and challenging problems, and students must answer 25 questions in 40 minutes. The top-scoring students at Bosque School this year were Steven ‘25, Claire ‘25, and Sebastian ‘27.

November also brought the beginning of the short monthly contests in the upper school from the American Mathematical Scholastic Association (ASMA). These are 35-minute exams consisting of seven questions with a variety of problems exploring algebra, geometry, number theory, and more. Students have participated in these during lunch, and a cumulative score over the six contests determines the school winner. Currently, Aldo ‘22 maintains the lead, followed by Saskia ‘21, and then Branch ‘21, Silas ‘21, and Victoria ‘21. 

All of these led up to the most recognized math contest in the nation, with tens of thousands of students competing from all over the country—the AMC 10/12. This year, 41 Bosque School students participated in this competition on Thursday, February 4. This 25-question, 75-minute exam involves topics ranging from algebra to geometry, and through calculus and beyond. “We look forward to receiving the results in March,” said Mr. Middleton. Students in the top percentiles of this contest are eligible to move to the second round, the American Invitational Mathematics Exam. 

While these competitions are exciting, Mr. Middleton shared the most important results of taking part in these tests: “Bosque School math students are pushing themselves to tackle challenging problems, demonstrate resolve and persistence through challenges, synthesize skills and concepts, use multiple approaches to problems, and simply enjoy rigorous math!” 

Way to go, Bobcat mathematicians!