York U hosts its first Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest

York University hosted its first ever sitting of the Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest (CMKC) on March 20. The CMKC is a competition that engages thousands of participants across Canada every year.

The CMKC sitting at York was coordinated by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Overall, the day was a success, drawing 90 contestants from Grades 1 to 11 to the University. Parents and families were in attendance, watching on as their kids wrote the test. Some parents even enjoyed trying the parent version of the Kangaroo Contest. In total, more than 3,200 contestants across Canada participated in the CMKC that day.

The purpose of the CMKC is to introduce students from Grades 1 to 12 to math problems in a fun way, with the goal of inspiring their further interest and advancement in math. The competition is held annually, with students in numerous Canadian cities writing a multiple-choice test and having their final scores ranked nationally and regionally; awards ceremonies are held to celebrate the achievements.

Juris Stepans
Juris Steprāns

“Competition as a part of mathematical culture dates back to at least the early Renaissance, a time when mathematicians would challenge each other in public spaces with equations to be solved,” says Professor Juris Steprāns, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science. “Today’s competitions, such as the Kangaroo event, allow young students to assert their mathematical abilities and gain confidence in themselves.”

The event would not have been possible without the efforts of volunteers from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics who made the CMKC at York possible, said Steprāns. The volunteers were:

  • Faculty members Ada Chan, Neal Madras, Alexander Nenashev, and Mike Zabrocki;
  • Graduate students Allysa Lumley, Robert Jordan, and Snezhana Kirusheva;
  • Undergraduate students Julia Folino and Ashley Di Placido; and
  • Staff members Ann Marie Carless and Susan Rainey.

In addition, Katrina Angel and Dimitra Markatas from the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Science, assisted with providing science outreach materials.