Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools

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Introduction for MOEMS especially for NEW PICOs


Thank you for joining the ranks of educators who value problem solving as essential to math education. This year will be an adventure as it presents us all an unprecedented uncertainties and challenges. Rest assured that you are not alone and that we are here to assist you if you feel the need.       


We hope you find our contests and materials a valuable addition to your math program. MOEMS® (the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools ) is built on the foundation that solving problems is the best way to teach problem solving. 


PICO is the Person ICharge of the Olympiads – that’s YOU now. We salute you for your commitment to help students grow mathematically and as problem solvers, to strive to reach their potential. We wish you and your students a lively, challenging, enjoyable, and valuable experience this year.


We suggest that before you meet with your mathletes, you review the resources listed below.


  • Information for all PICOs.
  • Tips for PICOs, which can help you to organize.
  • The 50 Olympiad Problems and Solutions given in your division over the past two years, for practice purposes. These are found in the secure area of our website. You will need your ID and password to access these. Treat our contests as part of a larger program that develops problem-solving skills. 

IMPORTANT! The practice problems and the current contest problems are copyrighted materials. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES may the actual contests or the individual problems and/or solutions be published in any form, including the internet.

  • Organization and Procedures, which details the rules and regulations for all our teams.
  • What Every Young Mathlete Should Know, which gives the official definitions of terms used on the Olympiads.
  • Message to Parents, suitable for duplication and distribution.
  • Newsletters , which will be posted on line as needed and which contains the scheduled contest dates, important reminders, follow-ups on contests, hints, appeals, and other helpful information.
  • The most recent Honor Roll .
  • The 5 monthly contests, which will be posted on line in the secure area of our website at least one week before the scheduled date. An email will alert you to the posting.


An excellent way to prepare your students for this year’s contests is to provide them with opportunities to solve non-routine problems such as the collections of Olympiad problems. An effective approach used by many teachers is the following:

  1. Practice at least 4 times before the first contest, the more the better. Let students know what to expect. These are PROBLEMS and not just EXERCISES, so encourage students to discover more than one solution leading to the correct answer of each problem. Schedule practice every week for at least one hour. The key ingredient for improvement of any skill is the amount, consistency, and frequency of time spent using the skill. Practices also help students know what to expect.
  2. Either for the first half or for the full session, teach a new topic from Creative Problem Solving in School Mathematics 2nd Edition. This book was developed from a series of popular in-service courses for teachers.
  3. For the second half assign problems from past Olympiads. Use the 50 practice problems supplied with your enrollment, choose a session’s practice problems using the “Contest Problem Types” section of each of the three volumes of Math Olympiad Contest Problems for Elementary and Middle Schools to, or use the “Problem of the Month” and other sample problems found on our website. Maximum growth occurs when reviewing solutions. Our model solutions can help.
  4. Where time permits, explore variations that could be made to certain problems and how that affects solving the new problem.
  5. Assign homework weekly. Some teachers reproduce selected pages from any of the three volumes of Math Olympiad Contest Problems for Elementary and Middle Schools, while others put a copy of the books into each child’s hands. Many children purchase their own copy to practice actively at home.
  6. Please do not distribute practice problems by posting them online (neither a secure website nor any other website). Posting them is a violation of the copyright laws, and, therefore, not an acceptable way to distribute paractice materials.

If we can be of any additional help, do not hesitate to contact us.

Again, welcome to the Olympiads! We wish you a stimulating and mathematically productive year.

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