Making It Happen: Academic Competitions and Contests Part II

By Stacey Burt on September 1, 2009

Here is the promised “Part II,” a continuation of my post about the guidelines for getting students involved in math contests and competitions. Check out the considerations suggested in my previous blog as they are the basics I follow for both science and math contests and competitive teams.

One thing I would like to mention is the great need to expand our students’ talents in mathematics. In 1980, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) made a bold statement, "The student most neglected in terms of realizing full potential, is the gifted student of mathematics." This suggestion leads me wonder what I am doing to encourage the mathematical talent of those very bright math students in my class. Over the years I have realized that one way I can address the needs of this population is to get these students involved in math-based contests and competitions. Below you will find a list of sites that sponsor or give information on math related opportunities for your high achieving math students.

Math Olympiads 

Math League


Math Kangaroo

Math League

Online Math League

American Scholastic Mathematics Association

For a more thorough list of opportunities, check out this link:


Some of the contests listed above can be conducted on site at your school and results are entered by the sponsoring teacher via the internet. I have had my students participate in the Math League contest with great results. I hope these sites will inspire you to engage your students in pursuing their love of mathematics in more depth by participating in math contests and challenges. A few of the competitions even offer savings bonds and scholarship money to students winning particular events and categories. Good luck!

Mathematically Yours-



I can see that you have established quite a network to feed information as well as share. Do you have information about writing contests and/reading contests and competitions for students? I would also be interested in locating places where student writing can be published outside of the school setting.


Actually, my partner teacher Kristy Mall, has our students participate in a poetry contest at the beginning of each school year. The name of the contest is Creative Communications Poetry Contest, here is the URL for the site, It is completely free and poems chosen will be published in their annual anthology. Good luck and happy writing.



Math isn't my greatest teaching strength, but these contests are inspiring and I am resolved to get my kids more involved in this type of math experience. Thanks for all the links!

Mrs. Alvarez-

I am very excited to hear that you have been inspired! So many of the math contests are completely "do-able" on site with you reporting the scores. Your students are so lucky to have a teacher willing to try new things. All the best and please let me know which math contests you decide to try. (Like I mentioned, the Math League is an easy one to start with)

Have a great week!


Stacey, though you know I am a fourth grade teacher, I am wondering what I could do to perhaps get a few of my boys interested in robotics. They are VERY hands-on and like to take things apart- for some reason, building projects come to my mind. How would you get any class younger than yours interested? Mine is an advanced class, so perhaps they could grasp a few projects we do together really well.

Besides that, could a robotics project be made into a class science fair project of sorts with variables, a purpose, and a hypothesis? Something that is measurable and observable with trials? Just curious. :)

Hi Victoria-

For your boys (or girls) that love to build I would suggest getting some simple Lego robot kits. They can be expensive so maybe think grants. I have also purchased simple robot kits from a local toy store that range from about $12.00-$25.00 each. It really depends on your budget.

Absolutely, I believe that robotics could be implemented in a science fair project, especially if your students are into programming. With the Lego robot kits students can program the robots to do all sorts of really cool stuff, and that's where your students could explore variables. Here is a link that may give you some ideas:

Thanks for writing and good luck with your "builders"...I was one of those kids. :O)

Have a wonderful week!


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