The TCP competitions are mainly organized and led by students. Each competition is independent of one another, so they may involve different games and activities. Generally, however, TCP competitions consist of a variety of creative and innovative activities intended to stimulate the mind while thoroughly entertaining the participants. Some competitions may focus on proofs while others on short answers. Through this, the TCP staff hopes to encourage mathematical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, making mathematics more enjoyable for all participants.
All TCP competitions are theme based. Examples of themes include probability theory, combinatoric game theory, Euclidean geometry in real life, the mathematics of music, the mathematics of art and language, beautiful sequences and patterns, among other interesting themes.
All after-school TCP competitions will typically follow a schedule like the one below: (The basic premises of the Finale competition will be explained after the following section)
|Break & Snacks||5:30-5:45pm|
As in the schedule, each TCP competition (other than the Finale competition) will last roughly two hours and forty-five minutes. It is anticipated that most school teams will need to travel to the host school, so TCP competitions generally will start at 4:15pm (arrival time is generally before 4:15pm) to give school teams enough time to arrive at the host school. However, sometimes competitions may start as early as 3:45pm so that the TCP organizers can squeeze in a third game. TCP staff will always aim to dismiss all participants by 7:15-7:30pm at every competition, if not earlier. It is hoped that every TCP competition will accommodate approximately 20-40 teams, or 100-200 students (Juniors and Seniors combined).
When the teams arrive at the designated briefing room (usually the cafeteria, library, or a large math classroom in the school), the TCP Organizing Committee in charge of that specific competition will welcome the teams, and give an overview of what the competition will specifically look like. Juniors and Seniors may be briefed in the same room or in different rooms depending on the competition. The competition coordinator will then inform the participating teams of the different games of the day, and instruct the teams to go to different rooms to participate in each game, if needed. Some games will require that all the teams participate together, and so a general assembly point (most likely the room used for briefing) will be used for such events.
After the briefing, Juniors and Seniors will go to their respectively assigned rooms, or stay in the briefing room (depending on the nature of the activity to follow), for the duration of the competition. Team leaders will be in charge of holding on to their team’s schedule (if there is one) for that TCP competition, and leading his or her team to the correct room for each game.
Usually, a TCP competition will consist of two standard games (some may include three games which may mean a slightly longer competition), with a 10-20 minute snack break between Game #1 and Game #2. A game generally involves a mathematical task, delivered to the teams in a creative manner, in which the teams must complete the task according to specific criteria within the allotted time.
During the snack break, participants may rest and discuss their experiences in the first half of the event. During this break, participants must return to the original designated briefing room to receive further instructions (assuming they were in a different room for Game #1). Snacks such as cookies, chips, soft drinks and juice will also be provided by the TCP.
The games at each competition may not take a whole hour each. In that case, towards the end of the event, if there is still sufficient time, TCP Staff members may host a quick 10-15 minute workshop for participants on some interesting math concept, trick, or shortcut adhering to the theme of that competition. Participants may be given a short problems set at the end of the workshop, which if completed, may be redeemed for a small prize at the next TCP competition.
The TCP Organizing Committee in charge of each specific TCP competition may decide to reveal the nature of the games prior to the competition, so as to prepare the participants for what is to be expected on the day of the competition. The TCP Organizing Committee in charge of each specific TCP competition could also decide to make any, or both, of the games at the competition a secret until the competition day, in order to give the participants a well-prepared surprise on the competition day.
At the end of the TCP competition, the team scores from each game at that event will be processed in an Excel spreadsheet or an interactive scoreboard. The winning teams from the Junior and Senior categories will then be declared at the Awards Ceremony at the end of the event.
The Finale event will be a full-day competition, taking place on a Saturday at the end of May near the end of the school year. This event will take place at either a high school or the University of British Columbia. The Finale event is the last TCP competition of the year, and aims to get roughly 200 participants. Usually, at the Finale, there will be a more expensive registration fee than at other competitions so that TCP staff can provide a complementary lunch. Snacks will also be provided by the TCP staff. The Finale event is for all schools across the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Fraser Valley. For an example of what a previous TCP Finale Competition looked like, here is the detailed event plan for the 2015 TCP Finale Competition: http://www.cssma.ca/?page_id=438. The Finale event tend to include very unique games and activities not typically seen at any previous TCP competitions.