FUN IS the watchword for the Scottish Maths Challenge, which offers problem-solving activities that are enjoyable and testing. It is also popular with all those - over 3,000 secondary and 2,000 primary pupils - taking part this year.
"People often think children who are good at maths are a bit odd, specky types who don't like sport," said Lynne McClure, editor of Primary Mathematics journal and organiser of the Edinburgh and Lothians primary regional challenge. "But they're just ordinary kids who get a great buzz out of doing it.
"Maths should be celebrated and it should be seen as cool among all pupils."
Problem-solving questions are sent out to some 500 participating schools during the year and culminate in summer term prize days in each of the five regions.
Ms McClure said: "It is in line with A Curriculum for Excellence and the quality indicators, which include emphasis on the learners' experience, expectations and promoting achievement, as well as the embedding of problem solving in the mathematics curriculum."
An example from the primary division questions is: "When the seven dwarfs waved goodbye to Snow White, they walked home in single file. Happy was as many places in front of Sleepy as Dopey was behind Doc. Sleepy and Grumpy were in even numbered places and Dopey was in an odd numbered place. Sneezy was behind Dopey and Doc was behind Sleepy, but there is no information about Bashful's place. In what order did the dwarfs walk home? Explain your reasoning."
The Scottish Maths Challenge has been run by the Scottish Mathematical Council since 1976.