Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools

MOEMS logo

December/January, 2020/2021

Post Olympiad 2 Newsletter


      1. Early Bird Is Your Best Bargain for 2020-2021
      2. Contest 2 Appeal
      3. Important Information All PICOs Should Know
      4. A Primer for Interpreting MOEMS® Statistics
      5. From the Mailbag
      6. Tournaments 2021
      7. Remaining Contest Dates

A reminder for you.

Many of our PICOs have asked to be reminded to sign up for Math Olympiads for the next school year in time to take advantage of our Early Bird pricing.


Standard enrollment (July 1 through October 15) is $119.00 (U.S.) and $150 (Foreign) per team; while late enrollments (October 16 through October 31), $139.00 (U.S.) and $175.00 (Foreign) per team. The best value for you is still the Early Bird Pricing enrollment fee for the 2021/2022 year. If we receive enrollment form AND payment-in-full by June 30, the cost per team is be $109.00 for U.S. zip codes and $125.00 for teams outside of the United States.


Electronic enrollment will be available again this year and will be up and running after our current contest year ends but still in plenty of time for the 2021/2022 contest year. If you want to enroll NOW for next season, you can do so by mail, fax, or email. Download an enrollment form HERE and send it to us right away. Keep in mind that the application will not be processed until we receive a check, a purchase order accompanied by a check, or credit card information on or before the June 30 deadline.

Still missed the official Late Enrollment deadline? In the past, those schools which, for one reason or another, can not meet the October 31st deadline (and the closing of the online enrollment process) have caused themselves anxiety and stress and have also caused us additional work and additional processing costs. This year we will send a “Last Chance” enrollment form to those who CALL (1.516.781.2400) or EMAIL ( our office before Wednesday, December 15, 2021requesting the “Last Chance” enrollment form. The pricing for this special enrollment extension is $199 (U.S.) and $230 (Foreign) with the understanding that all five (5) MOEMS® contests will be administered before the March 31, 2021 deadline for all teams.

Membership Fee
per Team



“Early Bird” Fee

On or Before

June 30, 2021

$109 USD

$125 USD



“Standard” Fee
July 1, 2021 thru
October 15, 2021
$119 USD
$150 USD

“Late” Fee
October 16, 2021 thru
October 31, 2021
$139 USD
$175 USD

“Last Chance ” Fee
November 1, 2021 thru
December 11, 2021
$199 USD
$230 USD
(Request by phone or email)

In order to take advantage of the Early Bird Special pricing whether using the online enrollment procedure or the printed enrollment form, we must receive a check (dated on or before 6/30/2021) or your credit card information by this date. Purchase Orders are not accepted unless accompanied by a check dated on or before 6/30/2021. So, get your enrollment forms in early!



Contest 2 Question D




Appeal Decision (and A Suggestion from one of our PICOs)

Several PICOs expressed their concern that at least one of their students did not understand that they were to only follow the paths indicated by the line segments only. For example, they felt that movement from the middle dot in row 2 to the 4th dot in row 3 would be an acceptable move. Perhaps, the question might have included the phrase “along the paths indicated by the segments,” but the feeling amongst the majority of the 13-member appeals committee was that the problem was fine as worded. The rationale was this: if the lines were ignored, that would mean a path could totally bypass a row and go from the top dot to the 2nd dot in row 4. If that was the case, imagine all the extra possibilities that might occur.


If one relies on the counting principle and observes a movement from one row to the next below it, without paying any attention to the line segments, one might arrive at the answer of 225 by multiplying 3 × 5 × 5 × 3 × 1. None of our appealers had that as an answer; however, based on the instructions, that too would be considered a wrong answer.


We rarely, if ever,are looking to “trick” our mathletes. We pride ourselves on solid mathematics problems without the “gotcha” element – out-of-the-box, yes; deceptive, no way!


The Suggestion (made by one of our PICOs)… a problem such as this, where many students will just trace paths if it were an OnPaper contest should probably be eschewed on our OnLine Contest. As she noted, we probably constructed these contests for the 2020-21 year before the whole concept of OnLine MOEMS testing (and even the Covid-19 pandemic) became a reality. She was right, and we appreciate her understanding. That is a great suggestion, and one that I have already passed along to our Problem Writing Committees for developing our 2021 – 2022 Contest Set.


Nick Restivo


Each team entered in the Olympiads has its own unique seven-digit Team ID, which appears on all communications you may receive. The first five digits of this ID is your zipcode and the last two digits indicate the individual team within that zipcode. We have also assigned the letters A, B, C, etc. to different teams from the same school; however, that letter is not part of the seven-digit TeamID.
Every time MyTeam is displayed, there will be a List value shown. This number is useful to the PICO but meaningless to the computer. Since the order of the student list can be changed (see ITEM 5. below) this list number only indicates the student’s position in the list as currently displayed.
Every time MyTeam is displayed, there will be a List value shown. This number is useful to the PICO but meaningless to the computer. Since the order of the student list can be changed (see ITEM 5. below) this list number only indicates the student’s position in the list as currently displayed.

To add a student to your roster: MY TEAM>EDIT STUDENT LIST> and enter that student’s information in the student list in the next available blank line and Student ID.


To remove a student from your roster: We prefer that you let us delete students from your team for you, but you can do this yourself.

MY TEAM>MORE OPTIONS>select the student or students using the checkbox>REMOVE STUDENT. This action is only necessary in case you need to replace a student after your original roster of 35 has filled up.


To replace one student by another: This is not needed. Remove and then Add. We will generate a new Student ID for the new entry.

You can tailor the team display order to your liking. MY TEAM>CHANGE LIST ORDER>{SORT BY SURNAME; SORT BY FIRST NAME; SORT BY STUDENT ID; or MOVE STUDENT manually using the UP/DOWN commands}>SORTING COMPLETED.
Sometimes a large number of your Olympians will be absent, for any number of valid reasons. In that case, POSTPONE the Olympiad to the closest possible date after the published date. There is great value in letting as many students as possible participate fully. Our contest dates do not anticipate field trips, non-standard school calendars, flu epidemics, etc.

Periodically, we are asked if a student can make up an Olympiad after an absence. This matter is covered in the sheet entitled Organization and Procedures, which lists the rules of competition:

TIME AND PLACE — All students must take the contest at the same time and in the same location…”


Accordingly, absences cannot be made up since this compromises the security of the questions. Although this rule will disqualify a student from receiving the Dr. George Lenchner Award, we do not wish to violate any child’s sense of propriety.


We have heard that some PICOs have handled an illness by an extraordinary student by sending someone to the house to administer the contest at the same time as the team. This is against the rules, is unfair to teams that follow the rules, and allows other students who are not treated preferentially to feel slighted.


Our prime objective is to foster mathematical growth on the part of children. Scores and awards should be secondary. We would, however, hope that the PICO give the absentee a copy of the questions and solutions afterwards in order to help promote growth on the part of the absent student.


A Primer for Interpreting MOEMS® Statistics

Our website makes checking statistics for your team a breeze, but a number of PICOs have asked for some direction in how to use those statistics. We’ll attempt to go through an example (below) to discover what those stats say.


From you team’s page at our secure site, click on tab MY RESULTS>OLYMPIAD 2. Then from the Options at the left, click on OLYMPIAD STATISTICS.


The set of scores shown in the chart had been taken from our site at 11:15 am (Eastern Standard Time) on January 11, 2021. If you were to look up the statistics on a day following this, they would be different. Reason: as team scores are reported by PICOs, the statistics are updated in real time.

In this example 1487 teams (which represent 72.6% of all Division E teams) had reported scores for Olympiad 2’s Division E contest by that time.

If you look for results in the column labeled “B” you will discover that 42.0% of all students had the correct answer. Below that you see how students at each grade level fared on that question.


The column labeled “Participants” lists the actual number of students in each category.


Look at grade 5’s success rate on this entire contest. Of the 12731 students reported, 8.8% received perfect scores (all 5 answers correct), while 12.8% received no credit.


This one is a little tricky, as the percentages in the “Female” row represent the % of only females taking the contest. The percentages in the “Totals” row tell you what percentage of students were in that grade (e.g. grade 5 made up 46.5% of students reported.) You would have to use your MOEMS skills to figure out what the percentage of all the girls who took the contest were in grade 6. (Ans: 22.8%)


By the way, you will find a new row in the Grade Distribution table. “Not Provided” refers to students who do not want to be labeled as either “Female” or “Male” in the statistics. This gender identifier is accomplished by selecting “D” (i.e. Do not wish to respond) in the “MY TEAM” list.

If you have any other questions about these statistics, our office is a phone call away.
Just call 1.516.781.2400 and ask to speak with one of us!


Letter from a veteran PICO to a beginning PICO

The following is taken from a response from veteran PICO Tricia Rothenberg (Georgetown, TX) to new PICO Shary Horn (Alvin, TX).

I’m so glad you are planning to begin the Math Olympiad program! Here are my answers to your question. If you have more now or as you implement the program, I’d love to answer those, also!


This is just the way we are using the problems in Georgetown. I’m sure there are many other ways to implement the program!


How do your teachers use the problems during their class time?


Our teachers give the students 3 Math Olympiads problems to solve per week. The problems are chosen from the book of past Math Olympiads problems entitled Math Olympiad Contest Problems for Elementary and Middle Schools by Dr. G. Lenchner, which can be ordered using the form in your handout from CAMT, or by going to . We have selected a set of about 108 of these non-routine problems for each grade level so the students work different problems each year. Naturally, some of the problems are more difficult than others, so we have tried to use the easier ones for 4th grade, etc. The problems were initially chosen and then tried in the classroom, and then we did a bit of refinement to our problem sets as we found that some were too difficult or too easy for a certain grade level.


Generally, teachers present the problems, either all 3 on Monday or one a day Mon-Wed, and give the students some class time (first individually, and later in the week, usually with a partner) to make sense of the problems and perhaps get a bit of assistance when needed via clarifying or scaffolding questions from the teacher. After students have more experience with these challenging, genuine problems, some teachers allow students to work on them at home, also.


It is always good to have a note to send home to help parents understand that the purpose of the Math Olympiads problems is to give students experiences with genuine problem solving, in other words, using a problem solving model involving making sense of the problem; selecting, developing, and using problem-solving strategies; and evaluating their solutions for reasonableness and accuracy, etc.


We encourage teachers to use this body of Math Olympiads non-routine problems as mathematical experiences OUT of the context of a formal lesson. While they can also make good problems to use as the basis of a great lesson ­ a very good use of them ­ we want to have a body of non-routine problems that is used across the district for students to be able to do genuine problem-solving ­ where we have not “shown them how to do it.”


Students write up their solutions to these problems. They start out explaining their understanding of the problem, how they solved it, what worked and what did not work and why, and why they believe that their answer is reasonable.

Students are preparing for writing more formal proofs in their high school years. Some teachers have spirals or journals for this, and some keep portfolios (folders) of each student’s problem solving write-ups.


VERY IMPORTANT: Teachers encourage MULTIPLE SOLUTIONS to the same problem, which will naturally happen when students are given these challenging problems and not told which strategy to use. This makes possible rich discourse ­ COMMUNICATION ­ about the problems. Students (usually with different strategies) present to the class their solution strategies, and learn to talk fluently and clearly about mathematics and defend with mathematical reasoning and facts their solutions. They learn to listen to each other and to be flexible in their thinking about problems. Generally, teachers set aside time each week for students to present the three problems of the week. It is very common for students to not get the right answer, and we really emphasize that the most important thing is the student’s THINKING and COMMUNICATION, and his use of the PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS. That is what we teach using Math Olympiads problems. We also like “right answers,” but in the creative problem solving process, and with children grappling with complex problems, right answers do not always happen. With more experience with the problems, they will get more accurate. At the end of the problem-solving discussion of each problem, the teacher ties the solution strategies together, possibly asking children to analyze the similarities and differences of the solution strategies presented, and with a discussion of the important mathematical concepts she wants to emphasize in the problems.


We have found that the Math Olympiads problems provide a worthwhile and challenging way to review mathematics children have previously learned and use it in a meaningful way, to develop their own meaningful solution strategies, and to preview concepts that they will learn formally later on.


ALSO ­ teachers give students an opportunity to participate in the Math Olympiads contest ­ which happens twice in the Fall (Nov. and Dec.) and three times in the Spring (Jan. – Mar.). The contests take about 30 minutes to take, and then students are given the opportunity to discuss how they solved them. We feel that students’ presenting their solution strategies is a very important part of using these non-routine problems in the classroom. We have engendered quite a bit of excitement about the problems with the contest. Many students will receive awards in this contest ­ all students receive a certificate, for example.


Teachers use rubrics, checklists, completion grades, etc. when/if they grade the Math Olympiads problems.


Click HERE for a printer-priendly list



Deadline for Score Entry
Dec. 14 – Jan. 16
March 31
Jan. 11 – Feb. 13
March 31
Feb. 8 – Mar. 6
March 31
Mar. 8 – Mar. 31
March 31

Contests should be administered at one sitting (OnPaper format) or within a short time of other administrations (OnLine format). If more than one school in your district participates in the Olympiads, try to schedule the contest on the same day for all district teams. (We have learned that children and parents from different schools in a district enjoy discussing the problems with each other. This could be a problem if all children do not take the Olympiad on the same date.)

error: Content is protected