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What Parents and Teachers Wrote

I have just completed entering the statistics for my Math Olympiad team for the 2010 -11 school year. At the end of this year I will be retiring. I don't remember how long I have been a PICO, but working with Math Olympiad and getting kids excited about problem solving has been a real "math high" for me. I think I am close to 20 years. I especially enjoyed watching kids working hard to find a strategy that works for them. I like how they learn to analyze problems and check to make sure what they did was the correct way to go. When they are successful, and they get excited about getting even one question correct, that is certainly a teaching victory for me. I have had the privilege of the support of the entire sixth grade staff to help our students reach great success.
I will miss this aspect of my job, as I worked with those students who were available as an after school intramural activity for many years. I want to thank you for the program and the support through the years. It is my hope that one of my colleagues will take over as PICO and continue our school's participation in the program.
Thank you again for your support,
Mack Warner
PICO for E. H. Markle Int. School

Thanks for the kind words, Mack. It's stories and letters like yours that let us know we are accomplishing what we've set out to do: to excite, encourage, and instruct students and their teachers. It has been our pleasure to serve you.
We wish you many years of health and happiness in retirement.
    Your friends at Math Olympiads

Macklyn Warner
E.H.Markle Int School
Hanover, PA
The Math Olympiads are a nice, low-key, ongoing learning experience. The monthly tests are short and then right afterwards we discuss the problems, which help develop creative thinking skills. There are lots of small awards, which are presented at an end-of-year family celebration ceremony.
Skona Brittain
SB Family School
Santa Barbara, CA
We love Math Olympiad-the kids get so excited! I like the various levels of awards (and so do students). The questions this year, I thought were especially good, the level was just right. (Sometimes they are too hard!) Our students look forward to every contest. Thanks!
Becky Hoag / International School of Brussels
It is fantastic seeing the growth in students' problem solving ability from Contest 1 through 5. We practice every week and the kids are always excited about the problems. Thank you so much for all of the organization, for including "foreign" teams, and for the consistently high quality questions!
Susan Shaw
Singapore American School
Liked the Ideas sections on-line. I tried pairing 6th-7th-and 8th graders into groups and it really worked. Everyone had input NOT 8th grade against 6th grade. I give points -1st completed-one point. Solutions Correct-one point. End of class-small treat to winning group. It works, rotate teams every 2 weeks
Jean McFadden
Bishop McHugh Regional Catholic
Cape May Ct House NJ
Math Olympiad is a good opportunity and great experience for our students. It gives a challenge to those who need it
Debbie Staley
Harvest Christian
Barrigada Guam
My students beg me for problems so they can "practice". They are so excited on contest day. There was one-year (maybe 01-02 or 03-04?) when the problems were no fun at all-but the rest of the years they were great! Many thanks
Jane L. Abe
Beacon Heights
Salt Lake City UT
This contest is a wonderful way for students to share their strategies with each other. Their growth as problem solvers is tremendous. Parents get involved at home taking the contest too.
Kathy Veiga
Madison Junior School
Madison NJ
The problems stretch our minds and teach us to reason. I really appreciate all you do to provide a rigorous program for us.
Christy Priday
Lee Hunter Elementary
Sikeston MO
What a wonderful opportunity for my students to engage in rich discourse through an engaging competition where multiply solution strategies abound.
Marshalyn Baker
Messalonskee MS
Oakland ME
Student participation has increased each of my three years! Thank you for providing a problem solving program that challenges and inspires my students!
Kathleen Ryalls
Bain Elementary
Charlotte NC
Math Olympiads has caused me to completely modify my method of teaching mathematics....Involvement in Math Olympiad and Math Counts increased our CTP4-ERB achievement test results substantially....More emphasis on the problem solving of Olympiad, when I applied it to all students, ...had the same impact on all achievement scores....So, I'm happy, school is happy, parents are happy, and on and on.
Dale R. Koch
Charlotte Christian
Charlotte NC
I am one of your PICOs and for the first time this year I am doing the online recording option. I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with the input process for adding names, test scores, etc. I think you all have done a great job getting this up and running. I am thrilled that I donāt have to bubble in the student registration cards or the test answers anymore.
Mark Owen
Highland Terrace
Shoreline WA
I am the math team coach for the 7th and 8th grade teams here at the Altamont School. I ordered your book, Creative Problem Solving, at the beginning of the school year and have been referring to it constantly in teaching my math teams. I have a Smart-Board in my classroom and would like to be able to use some of the problems, diagrams, and solutions in my PowerPoint presentations.
Marguerite Nunnally Math Chairperson / Altamont School Birmingham AL
The Math Olympiad has been a fantastic challenge for my son [Eric] (and his parents)....The real beauty of the Math Olympiad is it really doesn't matter whether you score a 4 or a 25 during the competition ... it's fun for everyone and there is much to learn from the experience.
Mike Fegan
Merrick NY
Thank you very much for providing a great program for elementary school students. Our students enjoy solving problems that are challenging. You can see a tremendous growth in their abilities to solve problems, to think logically due to their participation in the Math Olympiads."
Dr. Katarina H. Klaf
PS 77 NYC Lab School
I have been doing this for 18 years.... I have changed how I use [MOEMS contests] over the years, but it has be one constant among no others that I have been involved with in education. Now more than ever it is helpful with bright math students. ...[So many] math programs are weak in ... problem solving and mathematical applications even though they claim to be conceptual and inquiry based.
Mary Mahan
Field Elementary
Littleton CO
I just wanted to thank all of you for your hard work. We're a large urban school in Los Angeles with 11 different languages spoken among the children, and this is our second year to enter 4 teams. It's been a challenge to teach problem solving, but we are using our diversity to find many new approaches. We've got a long way to go, but this has been a great experience for us, and I just wanted to say thanks.
Cathy Hoyt
Hancock Park School
Los Angeles CA
This year was the first year that our elementary school participated in the Math Olympiads, so we didn't know what to expect. Wow! The kids LOVED wrapping their minds around the most challenging, quirkiest math problems they'd ever faced before. Many were challenged for the first time. Our PICOs were a bit apprehensive -- but the kids' excitement was infectious. We all learned a lot, and can't wait for the new season to start.
Mona Schorow
John Muir Elementary
San Jose CA
[When Executive Director Richard Kalman did a workshop with our students,] he made the children feel empowered to try to tackle the problems he posed and I could see that even some of the children who were not historically 'good at that sort of problem solving' were engaged. I would like to suggest that when he works with teachers, he give a lesson or structure his whorshop so that our teachers could almost replicate his lesson with their class. I think our teachers REALLY NEED that and it may make them more confident to try such a thing with their classes
Robyn Cooper
Greenfield Hebrew Academy
Atlanta GA
MOEMS, in my opinion, is doing more than any other organization in the world to promote problem solving among both children and teachers. Keep up the good work.
Eugene P. Smith
University of Michigan
Dearborn MI
I have considered this contest one of the best vehicles to stimulate my sixth grade students.
Judy Liscum
Canton NY
Iíve been a Mathcounts coach for 9 years. I can always spot the students who did Olympiads in grade school! My two students who really did well and went on to National Mathcounts were both from Olympiads
Lenora Murray
I donít know about the kids, but I sure have been learning math through these competitions.
Ellie Feldner, Scottsdale AZ
[Students] fall in love with math. These questions are four to six years above grade level for third graders, yet they come back every year.
Claire Eiselen, Rochester NY

What Students Wrote

    from THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE article (Jan 18, 2011):

  • ...We do a lot of problem-solving and it's fun. (Connor Daley)
  • ...We like math. It's not like our parents make us come. (James Guiden)
  • ...It's not just 5 plus 5 kind of math. (Octavia Crowell)
  • ..Here they encourage you to think with other people and work your brain. It's more challenging than things we do in class. (Mae Burris-Wells)
Tom Welch, coach
Joelle Brookner, coordinator
Williamstown Elem School
Williamstown, MA
The contests are hard. They’re something to look forward to. Math Olympiad is fun. It challenges you.
Alexandra Deligianidis, gr 6
Burlington, MA

(Thank you for providing us with another year of wonderful problems, math problems, that is! Our Math Olympiad students did well this year and our administration, teachers, parents, and I were extremely proud of them. We celebrated this past week with an awards gathering with parents and administration and coupons for free ice cream treats in the cafeteria the next day for everyone. A classroom teacher shared later that one of her Olympiad students had written a piece earlier about his involvement with Math Olympiad. I have his permission to share it with you. I look forward to another great Olympiad year when we start school again in August!)

ďIt is time for Math Olympiad,Ē Mrs. T said. Ryan, Sydni, and I skedaddled off to Math Olympiad. I had no idea that I was in for a big surprise. Last week, we had a Math Olympiad contest. I remembered the questions and went over them with my mom. I was pretty sure that I got 3 right. Apparently, I was wrong. We went over the first question together. I knew I had that one right. I let out a little sigh of relief. Then we went over the second question. And the third. And the fourth. And finally, the fifth. And after what felt like a lifetime, we were allowed to see our results. I took mine without looking. I opened my eyes. What I saw made me gasp. I had gotten 5/5 in the contest! I couldnít believe it. Neither could my parents. But it had happened all right. My mom rewarded me with a DSI. Unfortunately, I had to share it with my brother. But I didnít care. As they say, you win some, you lose (some)!

Raghav A.

Raghav A.

Lois Zwintscher, PICO Elementary Math Coordinator American School of Doha
Doha, Qatar

(Thanks to Ruth for these and more from her MOEMS teams from the past)


  • teases my brain.(Christy Stedford)
  • ...when I got one right I felt great.(Jeremy Bosma)
  • ...I got a problem right. It wasn't easy [and] you had to be willing to work.(Amy Ryder)
  • was fun and challenging.(Jennifer Steinnagel)
  • ...I learned how to solve problems using different strategies.(Ricky Nelson)
  • makes me use my mind and I learn how to solve problems.(Tricia Lance)
  • ...if you get some right you feel smart and proud.(Katie Kimball)
  • ...I like to see how good our class is at Math Olympiads at the end, but most of all you don't have to do your normal math work (Steven de Castro)
Dr. Ruth (Kuhlig) Damron
Anna L. LoPresti School
Seymour CT
Your questions are challenging and I have to think hard to find an answer to your questions. Also I like your site because it's a challenging web site and it's also an awsome, fun, interesting, hard, and challenging web site.
Christine Canedo
I have competed in the Math Olympiads from the 5th to 8th grades. Through my years of participation in this program, I have developed a wide array of reasoning and problem solving skills that I use regularly. I highly recommend that any one with an opportunity to do this, should!!!
Thompson age 14
Boulder CO
I think the program is good because you can learn things that you wouldn't have learned until 6th grade or later. The program has helped me do better with my normal math work.
Beth Hendricks, gr.5
Bedford MA
This math class has helped me. I had always said "I can't do it" and now I don't say that anymore. Math Olympiad has given me challenges and I enjoy it.
Lindsay McGrory, gr.5
Bedford MA


It teaches me interesting problems that I never learned before.

You learn secrets of math.
I learned lots of ways to do problems.
It helps you to solve problems better.
It refreshes your brain.
I feel really proud.
I love the Olympiad ceremonies each year.
It makes me unleash the thinking part of my brain.