2009年1月16∼19日印尼教育部在Bandung市舉辦有關國際小學數學及科學奧林匹克(International Mathematics and Science Olympiad for Primary School, IMSO)之檢討會，並邀請我在會上給一場演講，提出台灣參加IMSO的經驗，與會的人員除了印尼教育部相關官員及大學教授、教練外，另有泰國教育部、菲律賓數學會代表。
2. 由數學Puzzles 改編。
陳伯恩 2007 IMSO 數學總冠軍：(略)
王永光 2008 IMSO 數學總冠軍：(略)
IMSO Math ─ How We Do It in Taiwan
Wen-Hsien SUN President of Chiu Chang mathematics education foundation
The Chiu Chang mathematics education foundation selects and trains the Taiwan contestants for IMSO, and also arranges the trip to Indonesia. The Chiu Chang mathematics education foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to mathematics education in Taiwan. All funds are from non-government sources. Therefore we can have great freedom to run our foundation according to our own philosophy in education.
1. Selecting the Contestants
There are two phases in the process of selecting the contestants. The first phase takes place in the middle of September. There are 12 short answer questions in the test, 120 points in total. Around 300 students from the North, Central, and South regions in Taiwan take the test at the same time. 60 of the takers are selected to participate in the second phase training camp and the final exam.
The second phase training camp is held by the end of September for a period of two days. Seminars on subjects including geometry, algebra, and number theory are given in the first one and a half days. The final exam is held on the last half day. The exam includes 20 short answer questions worth 40 points, 10 essay questions worth 40 points, and 5 exploration problems worth 40 points.
The final score is 30% of the first phase exam and 70% of the final exam. The six students with the highest final scores are selected to be the Taiwan contestants to join IMSO.
The six contestants are trained on three Sundays in October in our office.
The schedule of the training is usually like this:
Seminar in the morning: by analyzing mathematics games and doing fun math problems, the teacher guides the students to do math research.
Two hours of rehearsal for the culture night program after lunch.
Free discussion and practice in the afternoon.
3. Test Resources
All the material used in the contest in Taiwan and the problems that Taiwan provided to the IMSO committee are prepared by Professor Andy Liu, Alberta University in Canada and me.
Personally, I prepared the test using the following references:
1. The old problems of other math competitions, like IMO、TT、PMWC、AMC.
2. Adapting math puzzles.
3. Adapting research papers.
What I usually do is to
A. Change the data in the problem.
B. Reverse the conclusion and the conditions.
C. Change the general conclusion into a more specific one.
D. Simplify advanced mathematics.
Please refer to the following reference
Arithmetic Refresher Klaf Dover
The Moscow Puzzles Martin Gardner Dover
Problem-Solving Through Problems Loren C. Larson Springer-Verlag
536 Puzzles & Curious Problems Dudeney Scribners
Australian Mathematics Competition Book 1-4 WJ Atkins AMT
Methods of Problem Solving JB Tabov AMT
Joy of Mathematics Theoni Pappas Wide Words Publishing
Amusements in Mathematics H.E. Dudeney Dover
Mathematical Circles Fomin, Genkin, Itenberg AMS
Mathematical Challenge Gardiner Cambridge
More Mathematical Challenges Gardiner Cambridge
Selected Problems I. Tonov Regalia
4. Seminar Topics
The students selected are the best in Taiwan. They show their fondness of math. We believe they should not be trained only to get a medal but should also be taught to become an outstanding mathematician in the future. Thus we choose some math games and fun problems that can be solved using elementary math for them to practice on how to do research and exploration gradually and how to organize their solution and write papers.
5. Assignment and Discussion
The students are assigned a book of math problems and requested to do the exercises by themselves in advance. They are asked to describe their solution and the problem in detail in the discussion. Questions or other solutions are encouraged to be brought up at the same time. We reward the student one point if he/she can point out others’ mistakes or give a different solution. The one who gets the most points at the end of the training day would be given a prize.
6. How to Overcome English Mathematics Terms
IMSO challenges Taiwan students most, not in math, but in English. After attending some years of IMSO, we collected some frequently used math terms and descriptions and trained our students to imitate the wording of the math proofs in English.
We listed 200 frequently used math terms, and asked the students to memorize them. The terms are as the following. Let me know if you are interested, I can make a copy for you.
7. The Impact on Taiwan Math Education
IMSO broadens the international outlook of students from Taiwan, exposes them to the experience of learning math in English, and enables them to study some English math magazines and books. Many students who won the medals perform great when they then attend secondary school. Some of them even have math papers published in Taiwan and international mathematics magazines.
8. Feedback from the contestants
Reviews from two students who won the best overall performance
Brian Chen 2007 IMSO best overall performance
I attended IMSO in November 2007 when I was about to turn eleven. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Indonesia. All the guides were very sincere, and the hotel, food, and transportation were nice. I met a lot of people and had plenty of fun at the party. The contest itself was very exciting; I didn't expect to get first place at first because there were a few very difficult problems I failed to solve. The last contest section, with all the interesting objects to be manipulated, is very unique in my opinion, and it also made the competition a lot more fun. I think the section is a great success. It very clearly transmits the message that every mathematician wants to tell the younger generation: "Math is fun." I still have the blue translucent cube labeled "IMSO", and have not run out of ways to manipulate it.
The contest also changed my view of math. It sharpened my appreciation of a good math problem. I have learned to be more careful in my arithmetic and other seemingly unimportant parts of problem-solving. It was a wonderful experience for me.
Scott Wang 2008 IMSO best overall performance
IMSO 2008 was not only a mathematics competition to me, but also a chance to attend a lot of different activities. On the second day, we joined the opening ceremony which is very special. The opening ceremony was held outside and we all received a little box, which was made of a kind of plants and was also printed “IMSO 2008”. In the other time, we also visited a couple of places, for example: a museum and a temple. I really enjoyed the happy hours when I joined the activities.
Aside from the special activities, I had also got along well with the other participants from the other countries. On the final day, I had made friends with the participants from Thailand. I even played chess with them! I think we both had a wonderful time and it was IMSO 2008 which made us all get along together.
To conclude, I think IMSO is not only a great chance to learn about the culture of Indonesia and get along with the people from other countries, but also helped make a change in my mathematical life. I will remember this competition for the rest of my life.
The problems for IMSO are supplied by the leaders of the attending nations, and then selected by the judge committee members. The problems’ quality may differ, though, due to the leaders’ lack of experience with math contests. I suggest the problems be composed by the judge committee (with some spare problems), and then revised by the leader committee to ensure the quality of the problems and achieve the purpose of IMSO.