Bringing Mathematics to Life

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SEAMC is a prestigious regional competition that NIST has taken part in each year since 2012. SEAMC 2016 was hosted by the Alice Smith School and Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur from 25-28 February. The annual event includes of a variety of collaborative and competitive activities, including individual rounds, a passback round, math trail, energizer, carousel and long-term questions. Above all, it provides the opportunity for young mathematicians to meet new colleagues, create lasting friendships and enjoy a unique and memorable experience. Steve Warry, a passionate mathematics teacher at Alice Smith School, founded SEAMC in 2001, believing that mathematics competitions should be fun and active events.

Alexander Templeton, Schwinn Saereesitthipitak, Soichiro Iwamoto, Alisa Khaninya, Hiro Isomura and I represented NIST at this three-day event, accompanied by Mr. Daykin and Khun Kate, and forming two teams: the PerfectionNISTs and the ExpressionNISTs. We were selected to compete in this event based on our ability to effectively solve a wide range of mathematical problems, and to do mental math and apply math in unfamiliar situations. This trip gave us the opportunity to consistently step out of our comfort zone, try new things and learn a lot with other like-minded students.

“SEAMC was an amazing opportunity, I was able to learn and connect with students from all over the world who had similar abilities and interests as me. Over the 3 days, I learned a lot about my own skills and faced exciting challenges. It was a super fun event.” –Alisa Khaninya, Year 10

SEAMC is sometimes assumed to be a boring math competition where students go to take more tests, but this perception is all wrong. SEAMC is so much more than that; it combines a variety of activities, all using mathematics but in very different ways, and requiring other skills such as collaboration, team building, spatial awareness, and breaking problems down into smaller tasks.

There is also a distinguished guest speaker each year, and this year we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to listen to and question Charlie Gilderdale from the NRICH project at the University of Cambridge. His talk was was very inspiring and interesting, and his perspective on mathematics was incredible and brought about new and fresh ideas to our minds. We found his powerful presentation truly breathtaking.

Moreover, some of the most exciting and enjoyable activities for me personally were the math trail and the energizer round. The math trail is an activity in which teams go around the whole school solving different sorts of math problems involving decoding, games, team building and much more. By contrast the energizer is a fast-running working game, with music in the background and students fully focused in collaboration with lots of energy, running to collect each new question and submit each answer as quickly as possible. I especially enjoyed the collaboration and energy of these rounds. Finally, we all enjoyed a beautiful gala dinner on the last night when we could all relax and say farewell to our new friends.

SEAMC was a truly memorable experience and has enlightened and inspired us all to develop our mathematical understanding further and apply it to practical problems. We got to meet so many new people and learn so many new things. It was unforgettable. SEAMC is a unique event, and more than can be described in a few words; you must experience it yourself if you have the chance. Thank you to Mr.Daykin for starting this at NIST, and for giving us all this amazing experience.

– Ankita Brahmachari (Class of 2019)