All pupils in Years 6 to 13 who attend Maths Circles at LondonSMP are invited to take part in the school’s Monthly Maths Challenge. This is an additional educational opportunity which we provide at no extra cost to our pupils.
The aim of the Challenge is to further support pupils in developing their skills in Maths. A key benefit is that working on these maths problems between classes keeps pupils' maths brains active. Our aim is also to encourage and inspire pupils to write down their thoughts step by step from their first ideas about how to solve each problem, through to their full answer, providing as much clarity as possible, so that any other maths student or teacher can understand their thinking.
Pupils do not have to answer all four problems if they are not able to. The most important part of this exercise is the effort pupils put into expressing themselves and the practice they gain in setting up and presenting a clear logical structure leading to their answer. This discipline should have a beneficial effect on their mental and personal development that extends far beyond Mathematics!
The LondonSMP Monthly Maths Challenge sets problems for four different groups:
We recognise that not every pupil will have the bandwidth to take up this opportunity in addition to attending their weekly maths problem solving class with us. However, if at all possible, we would recommend they try to write down the solution for at least one problem a month. If more can be attempted, so much the better. It’s worth mentioning that setting a regular Monthly Challenge for keen young maths students is an established practice in successful communities of mathematicians. The mathematics publications Kömal in Hungary and Kvant in Russia have long set monthly problems and the solving of them has been the training ground for many leading scientists and mathematicians.