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Title of Project: Lakehead University Northwestern Ontario High School Mathematics Competition

Year of Competition: 2007-2009

Grant amount: $1,500/yr for three years

Project Duration: Multi-Year

Type of Report: Annual

Period Covered: 2008

Description of Activity:

The Sixth Annual Lakehead University Northwestern Ontario High School Mathematics Competition was held on April 30, 2008 at Lakehead's main campus. Close to 140 high school students spent the day on Lakehead's campus; an additional 40 students in high schools outside of Thunder Bay, but in the Northwestern Ontario region, took part at their high school. With 180 students participating, the attendance of the contest increased by 20 students.

Our contest consists of two parts. In the morning, the students write the individual portion of the contest. In the afternoon, students from the same school are broken up into teams and take part in the team portion of the competition. As part of the contest, students are given free T-shirts and a free lunch.

In the past, we would hand out the prizes at an award ceremony about one week after the contest. However, this year we tried something new by handing out the prizes for the individual contest in the afternoon before the students left for their schools. This experiment was quite successful, and we plan to try this again in future years. The main advantage of this approach is that the successful students are recognized in front of their peers. Prizes for the team contest will be sent to the high schools within a week a of the contest.

Assessment of Effectiveness:

Our mathematics contest is intended to encourage and to stimulate the mathematical talents and interests of local area students. As well, we are interested in involving schools in the rural areas of Northwestern Ontario, areas that do not necessarily have the same opportunities as the more urban regions of the country.

As outlined in our grant application, our goal was to use the CMS Endowment Grant to attract more schools in the rural regions of Northwestern Ontario. (For the first four years of the contest, only high schools in Thunder Bay participated.) Like last year, Atikokan High School sent a team to Thunder Bay. Lake Superior High School (Terrace Bay), Geraldton Composite School, and Michipicoten High School (Wawa) participated at their own school. This was the first year that Michipicoten participated. Money from the CMS Endowment grant was used to pay for prizes and mailing costs associated to the participation for these contests. As well, some of the money was used to pay for some of the travelling costs of Atikokan High School to come to Lakehead.

Besides the grant received from the CMS, our contest has received donations and/or prizes from

  • TD Canada Trust
  • BMO Nesbitt Burns
  • Thunder Bay Ventures
  • Thunder Bay Hydro
  • TBT Engineering
  • Engineering Northwest
  • Thunder Bay Chinese-Canadian Association
  • Lakehead University Bookstore
  • VP (Academic) Lakehead University
  • NSERC

We had increased media coverage for this year's contest. Dr. Adam Van Tuyl was interviewed by the local TV and radio stations. As well, the Argus, the student newspaper of Lakehead, included an article on the contest.

Future Plans (if any):

The Department of Mathematical Sciences of Lakehead University is currently winding up this year's contest. Planning for next year's contest will start again in September 2008. At that time, we will be approaching our donors for their support, and we will be approaching local schools to set a provisional date (probably at the end of April in 2009).

One of our goals is to significantly increase the participation rate of the high schools in the more rural areas of Northwestern Ontario. As noted above, we had four schools from outside of Thunder Bay participate. However, there are approximately another 20 schools that could participate. Our greatest difficulty has been trying to establish a line of communication with these schools. We are gradually building a database of contacts.

Our committee has been discussing ways to increase our participation rate. One of the ideas we plan to pursue is to use the money from CMS endowment grant to cover some of the costs of schools to travel and/or stay in Thunder Bay for the contest.

Financial:

The following is a summary of the financial situation of the contest:

Revenue
CMS Endowment Grant$1,500
TD Canada Trust$3,900
Thunder Bay Hydro$500
Thunder Bay Ventures$500
TBT Engineering$500
BMO Nesbitt Burns$500
VP (Academic)$500
NSERC$500
Engineering Northwest$150
TB Chinese-Canadian Assoc.$100
  TOTAL$8,650
Expenses
Lunch$3,000
Prizes$2,000
T-Shirts$850
Contest Preparation$1,000
Entrance Prize$500
Misc$100
  TOTAL$7,450

This year the contest committee added a new entrance prize of $500. The prize is given to the highest scoring Grade 12 student who will be attending Lakehead in the fall. We will be setting aside some of our left over money to fund this entrance prize for future contests.

Contact Name: Adam Van Tuyl

[May 2, 2008]


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