2016 SA School Mathematics Competition for SPE Prizes By Helena Wu (Santos), SPE South Australian Section Past Chair, 23 Aug 2016

For the 19th consecutive year, the SPE South Australian (SA) Section has once again sponsored the SA School Mathematics Competition for SPE Prizes. The annual competition is run by the Mathematical Association of South Australia (MASA), an affiliate of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Inc. (AAMT).

The presentation evening for the 2016 competition was held on Wednesday 29 June at Pembroke School. Over 500 teachers, parents and students attended the evening, which included a number of talks in addition to the presentation of prizes and certificates.

James Griffiths, SPE SA Section Community Education Chair, attended the evening as the Section representative to address the audience and also to present the prizes and certificates. James provided a high level overview of SPE and spoke about the community education and outreach initiatives of the local SA Section. In particular, he explained the Section’s motivations in supporting and encouraging Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies, while highlighting its importance amongst the Section’s many activities and programs.

SPE SA Section Past Chair, Helena Wu, was invited as a keynote speaker for the evening. Helena shared her journey with mathematics through school, university and in the petroleum industry, while highlighting specific examples of where mathematics was important in her daily work.

Over 2,300 students participated in the competition held in March this year, across the four divisions – 308 students in primary (grades 6-7), 630 students in junior (grade 8), 957 students in intermediate (grade 9-10) and 414 students in the senior division (grade 11-13).

“The competition format is designed to stretch students’ thinking and analytical ability,” said James. “These are critical skills for most career paths, particularly those in the oil and gas industry.”

The SA School Mathematics Competition is open to all South Australian students in Grades 6 to 13 with four papers set across different divisions. The competition runs for 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the division. It aims to encourage interested and motivated students to enjoy the challenge of solving non-standard problems. Student solutions require logical expositions and full working, while being presented clearly and succinctly.

Monetary prizes donated by the SPE South Australian Section along with certificates and commendations are awarded for each division by the judges.

The SPE SA Section congratulates the students recognised with a prize or certificate, as well as all students for participating in the 2016 competition.