Children will be helped beyond the school classroom and they will be helped with their future careers.
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“One reason they started the program is because the basics of math is an important factor for people who work in technical fields,” Matonak said. “We see the importance of math and logical thinking; it teaches you how to approach a problem.”
While traveling, be sure to take advantage of the ease technology offers for surfing the net. For those staying at a location with Wi-Fi or an accessible Internet café, kids can use their computers or tech gadgets to find math resources online. YouTube, Education.com and MathMovesU.com are some options, to name a few. Matonak suggests kids can also download iPad games or apps.
“Kids can take their computers and things like that with them so they can practice while on vacation,” he said.
Sign up for MathCounts
When the school year begins, encourage your child to sign up for their school’s MathCounts program. However, students can sign up anytime.
If your child is interested in competing in the annual MathCounts competition, The Maryland Society of Professional Engineers sends each middle school a handbook and registration forms in September, the beginning of the school year. Registration is available through December.
In February, after months of practice and preparation, students go on to compete in the local competition, which is usually held at an area school. Roughly 90 to 100 students participate in this one-day Math-a-Thon. Participants, or “mathletes” as they are commonly called, work individually and in groups to solve brain-twisting problems.
Winners go to the state competition in March. And in May the national competition is held where the best and the brightest compete for the national trophy. Participants who don’t win get other prizes like rulers, MathCounts cups, key chains and Frisbees.
“We have had exceptional students over the years,” Matonak said.
Keep it balanced
A fair balance of fun and learning is a recipe for a productive summer. Though math may seem daunting, it can be exciting if approached with the right attitude. Overall, it is important to keep students’ minds stimulated during the hot, lazy summer months.
“It is important to get children interested and engaged in math,” Matonak said.
To Learn more ...
To find out more about MathCounts, go to Mathcounts.org