What happens when goals for teaching math, and the strategies employed collide?
by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist
When people talk about the Olympics, they mean the sporting event that happens every four years. But did you know there’s a math Olympics that happens every year? It’s called the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) and it’s for pre-college students. Over 100 teams compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. Earlier this year, the Republic of Korea took home the gold.
The IMO’s inaugural competition was in 1959. China entered in 1985 and has won the gold 19 times since, while the United States has won it only 6 times since its 1974 debut. Why have Chinese students beaten us so often in math? Speaking as a longtime math teacher, I think it’s the way math is taught in the two countries.