'Bozongle wrote:I am still kind of stuck on how to prepare for competition. At competition it seems to be much more difficult than simple estimation and measurement. How do I prepare for things like: A disc with multiple holes, of different sizes, and find the area of one of the circles? Or estimate the temperature of a container of water in a hot room with huge amounts of people inside? It seems that even if you prepare and practice a lot, it's almost impossible to know how you will do at competition. Any help?

Well, it IS impossible to know what they'll throw at you in competition. I coached this event and started with the very basics (length, capacity of containers) and then added a few challenges (find area of this paper with this shape cut out of it or maybe find the sum of the masses of this box of toys) as they got better. Since we're surrounded by things that have measurements all the time (a can of pop, a paper plate, the height of a room, etc.) we just tried to do a little each day. And if I saw that the pair I was coaching was struggling with a certain type of estimation, we made sure to do it a lot. We also tried to talk metric a lot. We've got a digital thermometer in the kitchen that shows the room temperature and the outdoor temperature via sensor on the deck. We switched it to metric mode and often step outside and try to guess the temp. Drives my husband bonkers to say, "Oh, it feels really cool in here today; what is it, about 19 or so?"

So, I guess I the best way to prepare IS to practice, practice, practice. You will get some zingers at competition that you really can't prepare for, but at least with tons of practice, you can make an educated guess. And, a good competition will have a nice combination of these impossible stations and more logical ones (capacity of a bottle, length of a line, etc.).

This year they added the third section. Have the kids learn how to reliably do those math problems. We still are having issues with them, but I figure by 2014, we'll be consistent in them.

And, like any SO event, decide who does what. Have the neater hand-writer write answers (so that a 7 doesn't look like a 1, and a 0 doesn't look like a 6, etc.)! And, if one kid is crunching numbers in a calculator, the other kid should be looking over his or her shoulder to double-check.

Good luck! It's a really fun event and the skills you get practicing in it serve SO students well in other events.