__CREATIVE MATH CONTESTS__

Like games, contests have an appeal to
many kids who enjoy the process of doing things to win something.
Therefore, math contests can be an activity that kids enjoy and that can
encourage kids to work on math problems. In the process of taking part
of many contests, some kids come to start loving math.

Math competitions students can participate in include:

While
benefits of math contests are clear, these have some downsides as
well. For example, if kids take part in competitions where they are not
able to solve most of the problems, they may get frustrated with the
process and may find these discouraging. This could even reduce their
interest in math. Secondly, kids who get too attached to the goal of
outshining everyone else in the contest could experience burnout.

For
these reason, Dr. Kulkarni has found that a new format of contests
called CliffHanger Contests that may hold appeal to wider group of kids
and that may not suffer from the downsides of the traditional contests.
These were also regarded as fun by a broad sprectrum of kids.

Cliff-hanger Competition are organized as follows:

(1)
Create teams so that collective team skills are close to each other
even though teams consist of kids with varying skills

(2) Use problems that vary in difficulty from simple problems to creative problem solving type problems

(3) Update scores on problem-by-problem basis

(4) Structure the contest to keep suspense till last minute

Suspense
about who will win in a close contest creates lot of excitement similar
to a basketball game on TV where game is close. CliffHanger contest
format is used in our in-class contests.