In a ‘Jeopardy style’ provincial math contest this past weekend, a Grade 7 student from Elmira came out on top. Amitan Pope, a former Park Manor PS student and current student in the gifted class at Courtland Senior Public School, beat out competitors from 13 other districts to be crowned as the junior champion at a mathematics competition hosted by the Professional Engineers of Ontario in Scarborough.
The five winners from the regional competition back in March continued on to the provincial level. The “Mathletics” were held this year for this first time ever at the provincial level, making Amitan the first provincial winner.
“I was assigned number 365 for the competition, which is a lucky number,” he laughed.
Maybe it was a little bit of luck, but it is likely a lot of skill was involved.
The event had a TV-show feel to it as students used “clickers” instead of paper to submit their answers. The competitors went through two rounds of questions that included both multiple answers and in some instances numeric answers. The students were asked a series of questions during two rounds of the competition, with topics including household calculations, electrical calculations, accelerations of a car, and the measurement of buildings and towers, to name a few. Each student received a notebook and a calculator as well as a clicker which sent their answers directly to a computer and scores were tabulated instantly.
Amitan’s father, Dave Pope, was seated in the audience behind the students and says that he was amazed at how quickly his son came up with the correct answer.
“I asked him, ‘How did you do it?’ and he said he just had his own formula!”
Amitan explained that the formulas he uses are ones which he has picked over time, something that helped him think more quickly when the time came to give his answer.
“I find the techniques in other places, sometimes in a book or sometimes my teacher had taught it.”
The contest was designed with the hope of creating a passion for the application of mathematics in solving day-to-day scientific and engineering problems. That’s certainly true in Amitan’s case. Aspiring to be a doctor when he is older, Amitan says that he already finds ways to use the mathematical principles he has learned through this contest.
When he is not studying mathematical principles, Amitan he spends most of his time playing soccer as a member of the Waterloo Wolfpack under-13 boys rep soccer team.
“He is probably one of the top right back defenders within his age group in the region,” noted his dad. “Unlike his math skills, which are more of an individual affair, he enjoys the game of soccer because it is a team effort which really signifies his true character.”