UKMT Junior Maths challenge in primary school - any of your kids done/doing this?(22 Posts)
I am just doing a bit of research for my kids head teacher about the UKMT Junior maths challenge.
The Junior challenge is aimed at 10-12 year olds, and I'm assuming it is tricky. I was wondering if any of your kids had done the team challenge and/or the individual challenge?
If they have, when did they start (how old)? And how did they/you as parents find it? Thanks!
My two are in year 7 and have just done it and they did it last year as well. ~250,000 kids take it, primarily in years 7 & 8, but some do it a bit earlier as well. They're both decent at maths and for me its been less about the actual exam, more about doing some of the papers/questions beforehand and getting them to do "challenging" problem solving questions. The challenging is qualified because the first 15 are not too difficult, although they're chosen to be diagnostic, i.e. they try and test whether you have a good understanding of the concepts.
I think its been good for them. They, being kids, partially admit its good, partially complain about it eating into electronics time.
The questions are available on line at drfrostmaths and diagnosticquestions.
I think it is for slightly older DC but more have done it since year 5 and are still doing it in year 7.
My 2 DC are quite good at maths but absolutely HATE doing the maths challenge. They have done OK at it and lately one got a Silver award. Despite this they do not want to do it, do not look forward to it and can't wait till it is over. They do not feel this way about any of the other tests they are given and usually enjoy maths.
Should also have mentioned the primary maths challenge which is more aimed at primary schools. This is organized by the Mathematical Association.
Another thing I stumbled across when the kids were doing their 11+ a couple of years ago was that a couple of schools had used a few JMC questions on their 11+ papers. I suppose its not that surprising, someone has to write the entrance exams, time is short and the JMC questions are well written. This is obviously at the end of year 5 / start of year 6.
Another thing you mentioned was about the team challenge (PMTC?). I think they're primarily for higher schools to run stuff, but I don't think they limit their use. Team challenges can be more social and fun when run properly.
The primary maths challenge is for Y5-6. It's a great idea for kids that enjoy maths as it's a better reflection of real maths than what they learn in school. It leads on nicely to the maths challenge that's often taken in secondary school (and maths olympiad etc for really exceptional children). I would definitely encourage it for all children who like maths but especially for those that are very good at it.
You can print the papers off to give to the DC to try. They don't require any specific teaching (but like anything you can help kids do better with practise etc.).
Thanks so much for your thoughts and comments. It is really interesting (and useful) to know that you can be good at maths and hate these types of challenges. I am hoping that the school will go with both the Primary Maths Challenge (for Y5 and Y6 and some of the strong mathematicians in Y3 & Y4) and the UKMT junior maths for the kids who are working beyond Y6. It sounds like good possibile extension work too.
MrT UKMT agreed with you, and also said the team challenge was for older kids, so thank you. I will stick with suggesting the individual one. I’m quite interested to see how the kids enjoy it.
I think going for the primary maths challenge is the right thing for a wider range of students. They've a number of papers you can download, there are challenge books of past problems you can buy ... Remember, it is in November (follow on in February) so if you want to do it next year, get it organized before the end of term this year. It also does not clash with the SATs for Y6.
I'd probably suggest doing a few classes before November where you go through typical questions with the kids. The style is closer to the syllabus but some of the harder problems do need a more problem solving approach and this may be new to some of them.
We've just entered our top three mathematicians in Y5 and Y6 (one form entry school). We did alot of prep during the year. Our Y5 missed a bronze by a few marks. The Y6 kids got a silver and a gold. This didn't really reflect their ability as the lesser mathematician ended up with the gold. She's fantastic at English and I think this helped her grasp the subtleties of some of the questions whereas the other two more natural mathematician paid less attention to reading the questions carefully.
My son in Y6 was one of a small group (6 or so) from his 45 intake primary school that did the UKMT junior challenge this year. They did some practice papers in their maths extension lessons and he seemed to enjoy it. We haven't heard how they did yet. The questions get progressively more difficult, so it's unlikely they will complete the paper, and they need to be prepared for that so it doesn't raise anxiety. He came out of it happy that he did all the first set of questions and had attempted some of the harder ones, and said it made his SATS seem easy. A good way to stretch confident mathematicians.
My DD did it last year in yr4 at the suggestion of one of her teachers. She really enjoyed it and got a bronze award
My ds (year 6) has just done this and got a gold award. He was delighted not to have done better as that would have meant he would have been entered for an even harder test..
at my DCs selective prep school, some kids in Year 4 and all Year 5s and 6s do the PMC. Some Year 5s and some Year 6s are entered for the JMC as well. I believe the same is done at most of the very academic prep schools in London.
Oh, this is all really helpful! Thank you. I’m feeling quite hopeful that it will be great for the kids and the head teacher will agree!
UKMT papers are great. They are normally aimed at secondary level but younger can do them as well . PMC is designed for primary (as per the name). The questions are a bit more challenging than standard curriculum maths and will be enjoyed by those that like a problem solving challenge. Both have follow on rounds that further stretch the more able children.
PMC second round is called the "bonus round" the JMC second round is the Junior Olympiad.
My children's school do primary maths challenge in Y4-Y6, and junior maths challenge as well in Y5 and Y6.
My eldest did well, as those types of problems suit her, particularly the second section, not sure about youngest yet.
Just saw you also mention the team challenge. That is very enjoyable for some children. It brings a team element to maths. Highly recommended, first you have regional competition s and the winners ( and a handful of second place winners) go to London to compete in the National Finals.
My DD did the primary challenge in y4 & y5. She also did the junior challenge in yr 6 and was delighted to get through to complete the kangaroo round - I think that’s the easier of the 2 bonus rounds. She got some sort of merit & was very chuffed so definitely possible for the most able children in y6.
My DS has done the primary maths challenge for the last 2 years. He has enjoyed it both times, maths is his thing.
This year he got through to the bonus round and was awarded a silver medal. He is rightly very proud of it!
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