SEAMC (South East Asia Maths Competition) is one of the largest Mathematics competitions worldwide. It was started in 2001 to bring together students from schools all over South East Asia for an immersive mathematical experience, competing against the best students from each age group. This year, Garden International School entered two junior (year 10) and two senior (sixth form) teams and they competed in Singapore over three days. Ms Chin Fui Yap and Mr Chris Newman accompanied the teams and provided invaluable support at the event. Our teams consisted of: Brandon Chin, Yuen Jishern, Vicky Kang, Inesh Ramanathan, Sayonee Das and Nixon Chung from Year 10; and in the Senior competition: Yi Sang Gon, Anthony Lee, Jordan Chin, Robin Hong and Nicolas Sia from Year 12 and Adam Lau from Year 13.
The first rounds started on the first night, and our students were put into buddy teams to test their collaborative skills. There were nine events in total, and students needed to be flexible enough to perform well individually as well as in their school teams and buddy teams. Our students put their enquiry skills to good use, each producing excellent posters as well as videos later in the competition. The videos they produced were inspired by their time at Universal Studios Singapore and they demonstrated a wide range of mathematical knowledge; applying concepts such as modular arithmetic, Newton’s Second Law, and Pythagoras’ Theorem to the rides and surroundings. The senior team consisting of Robin Hong, Jordan Chin and Nicolas Sia were placed in the 94th percentile for their inspiring video about number theory and how theme parks calculate queueing times.
The individual events were exceptionally competitive and challenging. They included the codebreaker round, where students had to spot a pattern in a sequence of numbers, letters or words. These could be numerical sequences but were often abstract and required lateral thinking. Both Adam Lau and Anthony Lee qualified for the final of the Codebreaker round, competing against the best of the best in front of a large audience. Their performances were exceptional and Anthony ended up coming second out of all of the 102 mathematicians there.
Our students also impressed everybody in the Duel round, where they competed head-to-head in a Nim style game until there was an overall winner. In this round Adam Lau also excelled, and he ended up in the final against one other student. Adam inspired his teammates and the junior teams throughout the competition with his ability to adapt to each different event and perform at the highest level throughout the three days. Adam writes: “SEAMC has been an amazing experience for me and I am very thankful that I was chosen to go for this wonderful ride with such brilliant people accompanying me”.
Overall, Garden International School ranked 6 out of 25 schools that took part in SEAMC Singapore. That is a tremendous achievement by all the participants with every member contributing valuable scores to our total. The Senior teams took home 13 medals and the Junior teams took home 8 medals. The best performer is Adam Lau who came in the fifth position out of 102 students, winning three gold and three silver medals. Anthony Lee took home five medals. Impressively, five out of the six students in year 10 were awarded medals which is a credit to the work of Mrs Sathi who prepared the junior teams during her CCA.
At the end of the competition, Golden Tickets were handed to the very best students. The Golden Ticket is awarded to the top 20% of the total number of students taking part in the respective competitions. Twenty places were offered to the Senior students and 32 places to the Junior students. This invitation to the World Mathematics Championships Finals will see the students competing in 12 rounds with the winners from the four venues for six days in Trinity College in Melbourne in June 2018. From the junior teams, Brandon, Jishern, Vicky, Inesh and Nixon won a Golden Ticket each; and from the seniors, Sang Gon, Anthony and Adam. They will make their own arrangements to attend the competition.
All of us are very proud of the students’ achievements and are looking forward to the next competition. We are sorry to lose our star mathematician, Adam, as he attends university in the UK to study Mathematics and Computer Science, but we wish him all the best for his future endeavours.
Below are students’ reflections on the competition:
|YI Sang Gon||This year it was my third time attending SEAMC and still it has not failed to surprise me with the abundant mathematical knowledge that everyone possessed and the creative solutions that each individual proposed for different questions. Often I was left dumbfounded by how some students were able to solve questions in an instant, but at the same time it encouraged me to put more effort in developing my own problem solving ability as well as looking into more advanced maths during my free time. Throughout the competition, I was able to find some success, both in making new friends and sharing memorable experiences with my school mates, as well as performing well overall.|
|LEE, Anthony||Being my third year in SEAMC, I am overwhelmed by the amount of mathematics that I am surrounded by, and it is an experience I will never forget. My most memorable moment was when I was chosen for the codebreaker finals and managed to find the various complicated patterns, coming in 2nd place. In the end, I was surprised that I have managed to win 5 medals and receive a golden ticket and be invited to the finals in Melbourne.|
|LAU, Adam||Standing in a room with many of the best mathematicians in South East Asia is a truly intimidating and humbling experience. Sometimes, even trying to start a conversation can give you goosebumps. However, that all changes after you warm up to a few people and start working with them. It’s definitely magical when you get to see the different ways in which other people are getting taught maths, such as when they go through problems in an unusual but spectacular manner. I think that it’s easy to get lost in the sheltered school life where a narrow mindset is usually encouraged, but getting exposed to large-scale events such as SEAMC is one of the best ways to realize how important critical thinking can be when trying to solve problems. One of my most vivid memories was from the duel round, where we had a few sheets of paper with rows of boxes on them. Me and Anthony were brainstorming ideas about what the game and trying to come up with a winning strategy even though the aim of the game or even how to play was not even announced yet. The best moments are the ones that come after though, where you are trying to put all your strategies and plans into motion against another person who is doing the exact same thing to you. The feeling of pure exhilaration and amazement when perfect set-ups and plays happen is what I enjoy the most. (12 squares is the game i’m talking about, definitely not the circle one.) Overall, SEAMC has been an amazing experience for me and I am very thankful that I was chosen to go for this wonderful ride with such brilliant people accompanying me.|
|HONG, Robin||SEAMC on Singapore this century was a refreshing change of pace from the usual school work we would have been doing. The activities were fun, and the competition was challenging. After coming back from SEAMC, I think that I have a better understanding of what kind of questions are asked in the competition and how to solve them. It is a really great experience to be in the same place as so many other talented individuals and I am glad to have been a part of it. One of the B Team’s successes were in the Inspiration round where our mathematical video scored very high at the 94th percentile.|
|CHIN, Jordan||This year was the second time I participated in SEAMC and it was a much more enjoyable and challenging experience as opposed to the previous SEAMC. The exposure I had during the trip taught me about how comprehensive mathematics is and gave me a yearning for learning more mathematical concepts. The different activities that we participated in tested how versatile we are around the subject of maths for example the mathematician round tested how well we know our|
|SIA, Nicolas||SEAMC is a stepping stone for me to explore new mathematical solutions and have a different yet refreshing approach to mathematics. Surrounded by peers who share a same common interest, it was truly an intimidating experiencing as we strive to do our best in every round we participated in. I find it fascinating to see how other mathematicians have a different approach when solving mathematical questions. Some were fairly interesting and majority of them were efficient and well planned. To be able to make new friends and compete with my peers makes SEAMC an opportunity that all mathematicians should not forgo. The mathematician round was my favourite as it challenges me to think “out of the box” when solving the questions. It gave me an insight that even with my sufficient mathematical knowledge, it was never enough to solve questions that require critical thinking skills. Personally, I would like to thank both Ms Yap and Mr Newman for taking good care of us and constantly encourage to do our best.|
|CHIN, Brandon||This year, SEAMC at Singapore was an invaluable trip that stretched our math capabilities and expanded our knowledge beyond schoolwork. There were various activities which we took part in, each testing different aspects of math, some testing communication and teamwork, whilst other activities tested individual skills and identifying patterns. Personally, my two favourite activities were the codebreaker round and the mathematician round, both of which were individual rounds. The codebreaker round assessed our ability to identify patterns and find the following terms in the sequence, and the mathematician round was a pure problem solving test, both very enjoyable activities. Throughout the 4 days, we’ve all grown and learnt many things, made new friends and reunited with old friends. Overall, I’m glad to have been a part of this tremendous experience, surrounded by such great people and I feel honoured to have participated in SEAMC 2018.|
|YUEN, Jishern||This was my first year competing in SEAMC and this allowed me to widen my mathematics knowledge and to challenge my mathematics skill. There were many rounds which we had to compete in which allowed me to build an all round ability which involved maths. These lessons which I learned during the 4 days of mathematics competition will broaden my thinking capability and my overall love for mathematics. My favourite activity in this competition was the duel round as it enhanced my creativity by playing a strategic game against another student. It was really enjoyable to meet so many people by just playing a small strategic game. All in all, SEAMC was an unforgettable experience as it was fun but challenging at the same time.|
|KANG, Vicky||This was my first time competing in SEAMC and it was a truly amazing experience that I will never forget. There were many different activities that allowed us to expand our mathematical knowledge and teach us about the different aspects of maths, from team events that helped to improve our communication and collaboration, to the strategy rounds that taught us how to think outside the box. Overall I’m very grateful that I was able to participate in SEAMC.|
|RAMANATHAN, Ineshi||It is safe to say, SEAMC was mildly fascinating, probably one of the most unique competitions I have attended. The rounds not only took into consideration individual skill but also strategy and other mathematical aspects not always taken into consideration. It was truly amazing meeting some of South East Asia’s best mathematician and I’m more than glad to have made new friends, strengthening my network for the future. It was more than a privilege for me to take part in SEAMC and I will definitely remember it.|
|CHUNG, Nixon||SEAMC was an unforgettable experience that provided and opportunity for us to use mathematics creatively and strategically. Each of the activities pushed each of us past our limits which allowed us to expand our mathematical knowledge. My favourite activities were undoubtedly the codebreaker and the duel. These activities used mathematics in ways I had never imagined was possible. The codebreaker allowed us to use our creativity mixed with mental maths while the duel called for the use of mathematics to solve any game we were given to beat our opponent. Over the course of SEAMC, I learnt so much and gained the experience to participate in future mathematics competitions.|
|DAS, Sayonee||SEAMC was an experience that allowed all of us to extend our mathematical knowledge and, more importantly, have fun while doing so. We took part in many rounds, the first being Codebreaker which tested us in our strategic yet creative thinking as we had to find the patterns and the next number in the sequence. My personal favourite round was the inspiration round, where our task was to make a video inspired by the real life application of maths around us at Universal Studios Singapore. Over the four days, I’m sure we all learnt many things and gained the experience of a mathematics competition. SEAMC brings together so many students from the branch of Southeast Asian schools, and because of this, we were able to make new friendships and reconnect with older friends from the community. Overall, I feel like we all did well, placing GIS 6th out of the 25 schools that attended. And I’m sure we all enjoyed the four days thoroughly.|