Title of Project: The 2018 Math Horizons Day

Year of Competition: 2018

Grant amount: $500.00

Project Duration: Single Year

Type of Report: Annual

Period Covered: April 27, 2018

Description of Activity:
Aimed at grade 11 students in Ontario and Secondary V students in Québec, the Math Horizons Day is an activity to promote the study of mathematics and the benefits of a career requiring a solid knowledge of mathematics.

Each school in the region (Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec) is invited to participate with a team of four students together with their math teacher. We usually receive about 30 schools every year (about 150 students and 30 teachers), which is the maximum number we can accommodate here on campus.

The day starts with a talk by one of the professors of the department about his or her work in mathematical research and the impact of new discoveries on modern technology, medicine, economy and other aspects of life. The presentation is sometimes given by a mathematician who works in industry or in governmental agencies. Before the lunch break, a presentation of different careers where a solid knowledge of mathematics is required is usually given by the chair of the department.

After lunch, the teams compete in mathematical contests. The contests include questions in various areas of mathematics as well as relays. The day ends with some individual contests as well. The winning teams and individuals leave with prizes and certificates in recognition of their achievements.

Assessment of Effectiveness:
The 2018 Math Horizons Day at the University of Ottawa took place on Friday, April 27. We had a record participation this year with 32 schools from our region and beyond. Unfortunately, we had to turn down some schools as the space did not allow it. Like previous years, the event was very successful and everyone involved from high school students, teachers, colleagues and the many volunteers from our department and faculty was motivated and enthusiastic.

The Day is designed for Grade 11 students (Ontario) and the equivalent secondaire 5 in Quebec. The main goal of the activity is to provide students with the opportunity to see a side of Mathematics and their applications that they get to see in a typical classroom setting. Every school is invited to participate with a team of four of their best Grade 11 students in Mathematics together with their Math teacher. This year, we had 21 English and 11 French schools. Some schools came from as far as Kingston and Rimouski.

The day started with the welcoming words from the department Chair followed by two morning presentations (one in English and another in French) given by colleagues from the department. The English presentation was about the history and evolvement of Mathematics through history and the impact ancient civilizations have on the way we analyse and interpret some mathematical concepts. The French presentation was on the notion of the ``infinite” and what does it mean in practical terms. Students and teachers had the chance to explore some interesting applications on the subject. As many students and teachers commented at the end of the day, the presentations were an inspiration on the important role Mathematics play on our modern society to advance science and technologies.

After the morning presentations, students were rearranged in their teams and a first round of team competition took place. Each teacher was assigned a team from a different school to proctor. After every team question, teachers would go to a different room to bring the questions to the teams and were given the responsibility to assign a score to the team. Before lunch break, a sample relay was also done to familiarize the students with that activity.

After lunch break, team competitions continued throughout the afternoon. Beside team questions, three team relays also took place. Some students kept asking for more relays as they found them challenging but fun to do. At the end of the day, some individual competitions took place. A first question was given to all students with a time limit. Students who got the correct answer moved to the second round. A third round determined the winners of the individual contest.

The day ended with the words of the dean of the faculty of science at the University of Ottawa who thanked all participants and sponsors, like the Field Institute, who made that day possible for so many students. Many prizes were then given to winning teams, individuals and teachers.

Comments from students and teachers focused on the importance of such enrichment activities to give students the chance to sharpen their mathematical skills and abilities in a challenging but fun environment. Many studies show that one of the major difficulties encountered by students is that they do not see the relevance of the course they are taking. This can seriously affect their motivation in the course, and their ultimate success. This effect seems to be most pronounced in Mathematics whereas other science courses are readily seen to be more useful. The Math

Horizons Day is perceived in our community as a step in the right direction to increase students’ motivation in pursuing more knowledge in Mathematics.

The fact is that no modern economy, like ours here in Ottawa, can grow without a solid foundation in Science and Mathematics. As a sponsor of this event, you are certainly investing in our local economy as well as in the future of our young generation.

Future Plans (if any):
The 2019 Math Horizons Day will take place on April 26


Renting Tables:$300.00
Registration coffee and snacks:$600.00
Midmorning break snacks:$300.00
Afternoon break:$300.00
Prizes (Teams and individuals):$1300.00
Photocopies (questions and materials):$300.00
Parking permits for teachers and staff:$750.00
Audio Visual rental (New this year):$750.00
Grand Total:$9300.00

Ottawa Community foundation:$3500.00
University of Ottawa:$2000.00
TD Bank:$2500.00

Contact Name: Joseph Khoury

[September 6, 2018]