The World Mathematics Team Championship was founded by Mr. Zhou Guozhen (China) and Prof. Quan K. Lam from University of California (USA).
Mr. Guozhen Zhou engaged in the mathematics education for over forty years, is a famous mathematic educator and is the founder of the Hope Cup and “The World of Math and Physics,” a very popular and widely distributed magazine. Each year, more than 1.5 million students in China from Grade 4 to Grade 11 participate in the Hope Cup, the largest math competition in China. Students are from over 400 cities all over the country. Students from cosmopolitan areas such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as underprivileged regions in the outskirts of China such as Shan Xi and Inner Mongolia take part in this math competition.
Mr. Quan K. Lam is associated with the University of California’s Office of the President and is the co-chairman in charge of international teams for American Regions Math League (AMRL). ARML is by far the oldest and largest team-oriented national math competition in the United States.
In January of 2010, Mr. Lam and Mr. Zhou decided that it would be very beneficial for the international math community to organize a team-oriented international math competition using the Hope Cup’s resources in China and Mr. Lam’s experience with ARML. In July 2010, they announced the news at the annual meeting of WFNMC. This competition, the World Mathematics Team Championship was successfully held in Beijing in November 2010. 73 teams from 11 countries and regions attended the competition which was consisted three levels:Junior Level , Intermediate Level , Advanced Level.
There are many international math competitions that allow the most elite students from around the world to compete and to excel but they do not provide the opportunity for the students to work collaboratively. In the corporate world as well as academia teamwork and communication are critical skills that must be developed. The WMTC differs from most of other mathematics competitions in three ways:
1.The WMTC puts more emphasis on teams than on individuals. Math competitions should be more than just determining winners or finding the person with the highest score. This competition promotes the spirit of cooperation and organization skills of students. Students have to learn how to share tasks. They need to know the strengths and weaknesses of their fellow team members. They have to manage the clock as a team. They check each other’s solutions and in case they derive different answers, they have to reconcile their differences. The WMTC recognizes both individual and team winners.
2.The competitors live together and participate in recreational and cultural activities together. Students spend four days in Beijing competing, participating in activities, and touring the world famous Beijing sights. Not only do they get to know their team members better, they also get to interact with members of teams from other areas. The WMTC is more than just a math competition; it promotes and encourages members to make friends with other teams, to appreciate cultures from other regions of the world, and to discover how other students learn and solve math problems.
3.Traditionally, there is an absence of female students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the field of mathematics. This absence is not so profound inJunior Level or even in Intermediate Level . However, by the time a student reaches high school, he or she is either very interested in math or not interested at all. This competition cultivates student's interest in mathematics when he or she is inJunior Level and he or she is more receptive to learning mathematics. This is the reason why WMTC has three levels of competition:Junior Level , Intermediate Level , Advanced Level.
The first WMTC competition was held in Beijing and lasted for four days during the last week of November 2010. Seventy three teams from eleven countries and regions, consisting of a total of about five hundred students, attended the competition. This is a team competition, and each team consists of six students with one or two alternates. There are three rounds of competition: the Team Round, the Relay Round, and the Individual Round. During the four days, students and coaches spend one day getting to know other students and coaches. One day is dedicated to the Opening Ceremony and the actual competition. The remaining days are spent on sightseeing tours and the Award Ceremony. About 35 American students/parents and coaches participated in Beijing. The overwhelmingly positive response from returning parents and students indicated that they will continue to send teams from America to this event. One parent wrote about how her son’s attitude toward academic work and toward people had improved after the trip. In Nov. 2011, US again sent about 40 people to Beijing for the second annual WMTC.
WMTC is a math competition worthy of investment in time, effort, and money because it encourages our students to look beyond our border and see what other countries are doing in math training, especially at the primary and Intermediate Level levels. China and many other countries are at the leading position in this area. Most international competitions are for either high school students or students with exceptional math abilities. It is important to bring our primary and Intermediate Level students to interact and compete with similar level students from all over the world, because this is an excellent way to cultivate their interest in mathematics.