#myFavFriday – The ICTM State Math Contest and HS Memories

As the year drags on, I’m sure I’ll exhaust you with my thoughts on the ICTM Math Contest, but for now, let’s just get introduced.

Me in 2003, holding the State Championship trophy

The Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics runs one of the largest high school student math contests in the entire country (I’ve heard it’s the largest, but I don’t have proof).

Here’s the contest in a nutshell.  Before the State Contest, teams must first compete in and win a Regional Contest.  All four grade levels compete in the following competitions:

  • Written Tests (20 questions, 50 minutes, Freshmen take Algebra 1, Sophomores – Geometry, Juniors – Algebra 2, Seniors – Precalc)
  • 8 Person Teams (20 questions, 20 minutes, no calculators, both a Frosh-Soph and a JR-SR team)
  • 2 Person Teams (Head to head, 10 questions, displayed 1 at a time, first to raise answer receives most points)
  • Calculator (5 students, 20 questions, 20 minutes, any calculator is allowed)
  • Oral Competition (1 student and 1 assistant study upper level topic in math in weeks preceding event, makes 7 minute presentation on 3-5 questions after given 10 minutes to prepare answers)
  • Relay (State contest only, 4 students in seated one behind the other, first student’s answer is passed back and used as part of 2nd student’s problem, and so on, first group done wins most points)

That was the incredibly short version of the competitions.  Trust me, I could write much, much more on the details, strategies, scoring,  rules, etc, but I’ll spare you this time.

I competed as a student from 2000-2003, and I’ve been a coach since 2009.

This is the part where I brag a little.  When I was a student, my team never lost. Tiny Herrin, IL, just 45 minutes from Kentucky went up again the likes of University of Chicago Lab School and Walter Payton Academy among others to dominate math problems year after year.  You see, my friends (team) and I were a rare bunch.  Among the six of us who made of the “scoring team,” we’re now 2 math teachers, a computer programmer at MSFT, an engineer at GM, an accountant at an automobile parts manufacturer, and a medical doctor.

We won the Algebra 1 competition as Freshmen, Geometry as sophomores, Algebra 2 as Juniors, and Precalc as seniors.  To cap off that senior year, we won the big team trophy for the only time in school history.  Our team picture still hangs on the wall of the commons area at the school I once attended and now am employed.  It’s a pretty cool feeling.

If you’re still with me here on this bragging session, I’ve saved the best for last.

The Contest has its own song.  Let that sink it.  There’s a song.

And guess what.  As my first year coaching, I brought along my video camera and recorded it.  And uploaded it to Youtube.  And you get to see it.


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