Martin Orr's Blog

IMO training camp

Posted by Martin Orr on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 20:03

I have been back in Cambridge for a week now, having come back for the Maths Olympiad training camp which ran last Thursday to Monday. My role was to discuss things with the school-age students when they needed someone with more mathematical experience, and especially to hang around in problem sessions and provide hints. Of course that assumes that I can do the problems myself - sometimes greater mathematical maturity makes that easier, sometimes it has got harder because I am out of practice with Olympiad style problems.

I also took a session on Euclidean geometry, the first time I have attempted to teach a group of people maths. This was quite easy teaching, because mostly I just had to give out a sheet of problems and let people try them. (I have collected up a couple of thousand problems from the IMO training I have gone through over the years, so I had plenty to choose from.) I did start off by spending about 10 minutes revising the basic facts about Euclidean transformations, which would have been familiar to most people, and then showing them one particular nice transformation which noone seemed to know (despite it being quite useful - I even used it in the 2005 IMO). My attempt to prove the properties of this transformation interactively was not too successful, as people proposed a different proof from what I knew, and I was not fast enough to keep up.

I now have two weeks in Cambridge until term starts. This weekend I am going to the London Lindy Exchange.

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