19th Philippine Mathematical Olympiad

The Philippine Mathematical Olympiad, a nationwide mathematics competition open to all junior and senior high school students of the Philippines, is carried out in three stages.

The qualifying stage (to be held on October 22, 2016, Saturday) consists of a written exam administered in fourteen (I think) regional testing sites. The exam consists of fifteen multiple-choice questions worth 2 points each, ten multiple-choice questions worth 3 points each, and six answers-only questions worth 6 points each.

The area stage (to be held on November 19, 2016, Saturday) consists of a written exam administered in testing sites for the four areas (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and National Capital Region). The exam consists of twenty answers-only questions and three open-ended questions that require full solutions.

The national stage (to be held on January 21, 2017, Saturday) consists of a written exam and an oral exam administered in Metro Manila. The written exam consists of four open-ended questions that require full solutions to be answered in 4.5 hours. The oral exam (which is open to the public) consists of 30 questions read to the participants and to be answered within a specified time for each item.

Each school may send up to twenty participants (students with a final grade of 88% (or its equivalent) in mathematics in the previous school year). The participants with the top fifty scores in the qualifying stage per area will qualify for the area stage. The participants with the top twenty scores (national ranking) in the area stage will qualify for the national stage. The national finalists will be qualified to join the International Mathematical Olympiad Summer Camp (IMOSC). The representatives of the country to the International Mathematical Olympiad will be selected from the participants of the IMOSC.

I am the regional coordinator for Region V (Bicol Region). Schools in Region V that are interested in participating should complete the official application form and submit it to me on or before 12:00 noon of September 23, 2016 (Friday). My contact information can be found in the official brochure.

2016 Bicol Mathematics Conference

The 2016 Bicol Mathematics Conference will be held on February 29 to March 2, 2016 (Monday to Wednesday) in Ateneo de Naga University, Naga City, Philippines. Three plenary talks will be given (pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematics education). I am the plenary speaker for mathematics education.

Gift from MathOverflow

Last June 17, 2014, it was announced on MathOverflow Meta that “established users” that “have actually made (and will hopefully continue to make) valuable contributions to this site” would be given gifts if they ask for them. I filled up the form and waited, but I wasn’t sure if they would give the gifts to someone outside the U.S.A.

The goods arrived yesterday. I got a mug, an XL-size T-shirt, and three stickers in a box that was a little too big for the goods. The commercial invoice states that it was sent last October 21, 2015. I was very surprised that it took only around 7 days to reach me. (Most packages sent to me from the U.S.A. take a few weeks to a few months to reach me.) The invoice states that the mug has a value of US$ 5, the T-shirt is worth US$ 3, and each sticker is worth US$ 0.25. Thanks, MathOverflow!

Theory of Quantity

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During the recent EARCOME 7 conference, one of the exhibitors was a group of Japanese who showed participants how to create a lot of concrete learning materials (manipulatives) such as origami sculptures. I assume that they are members of The Association of Mathematical Instruction (AMI) because they gave me a complimentary copy of AMI’s Principles of Mathematics Education. Continue reading “Theory of Quantity”


I recently presented a poster and a paper at the 7th ICMI-East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education (EARCOME 7) last May 11-15, 2015 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.

Shown above is a picture of me with Frederick K. S. Leung (who was the honorary plenary lecturer) and Catherine P. Vistro-Yu (who was the international program committee chair).

The poster and the paper were based on parts of my dissertation with Dr. Vistro-Yu as my advisor. The poster had the title “Assessing Proportional Reasoning Skills and Understanding Using the Water Rectangle Task” and was co-authored with Dr. Vistro-Yu. (A copy of the poster is here. The poster is the one on top in the photograph above.)

The paper had the title “Teaching Proportional Reasoning Concepts and Procedures Using Repetition with Variation” and was co-authored with Dr. Vistro-Yu. (A copy of the slides is here. Also shown in the photograph above is the session chair Enriqueta Reston.)

Order of operations

It is generally accepted by mathematics educators and by scientific calculator companies that in the “correct” order of arithmetic operations, multiplication and division are done from left to right. Thus, 48÷4×12 is evaluated as 144. The Casio fx-82MS and the Casio fx-350ES shown above give this answer. There is, however, some disagreement whenever parentheses are used to indicate multiplication.

My daughter’s high school teacher asked her to evaluate 48÷4(12). My daughter’s answer was 144; her teacher’s answer was 1. What answer is given by the calculators?
Continue reading “Order of operations”

Math Doesn’t Suck

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A few months ago, I bought a copy of Math Doesn’t Suck by Danica McKellar at a BOOKSALE outlet. (Click on the images to see higher-resolution versions.) I know she has experience being a mathematician, but I didn’t know how much experience she has being a mathematics educator. I had done some study on conceptual and procedural knowledge in mathematics so I was very curious to know which she would introduce first—concepts or procedures—and which she would emphasize more. Continue reading “Math Doesn’t Suck”