What is the NMS?
NMS stands for “Latvijas Universitātes Aivara Liepas Neklātienes Matemātikas Skola”, or “Neklātienes Matemātikas Skola” for short; which in English means “Aivars Liepa’s Correspondence Mathematics School” and “Correspondence School of Mathematics”, respectively.
According to the NMS regulation approved by the University of Latvia Senate on the June 26, 2006, Aivars Liepa’s Correspondence Mathematics School is a structural unit of the University of Latvia under the Department of Physics and Mathematics.
The main activities of the NMS include
- development of teaching aids;
NMS’s role in education
For more than 45 years, the NMS has been coordinating widespread and comprehensive advanced teaching activities nationwide.
Since mathematical competence is the foundation of successful learning of science and informatics, NMS’s activities are important as they help talented young people improve their skills in all areas of science.
Many students who had participated in events organized by the NMS were later successful in international competitions not only in mathematics but also in physics, informatics, chemistry and biology; many eventually became outstanding scientists.
Main responsibilities of the NMS team
- Running the Extramural studies and the Little University of Mathematics (an intramural activity) — activities for secondary school students;
- Organization of the Latvian Mathematical Olympiads, training of the national team for the international competitions, including International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) and the Baltic Way.
- Organization of extramural contests for junior pupils such as the “Professor Littledigit’s Club” (for students up to Grade 9), the “Young Mathematicians’ Contest” (for students up to Grade 7), as well organization of the regional mathematical contest called “So Much or … How Much?” for Grade 4 students.
- Preparation of teaching aids for advanced mathg education.
There are teaching aids on some topics and volumes of problems with extended solutions from Latvian math olympiads and other contests. The teaching aids are published both as “hard copies” and on the internet. Many books have been written and published as part of the Latvian – Icelandic project “LAIMA”; some have been translated into English. Another important project involving the NMS has been LIIS – the Latvian Education Informatization System (1997-2005). The LIIS materials are available here.
International mathematical competitions
The NMS has initiated or taken direct part in the establishment of three international and regional mathematical competitions:
- The Tournament of Towns. Taking place since the 1979, it currently covers about 50 countries.
- The Baltic Way. It is a team competition which has been taking place since 1990. It currently covers 11 countries – all countries around the Baltic Sea and Iceland which was the first country to recognize the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian independence in 1991. The Olympiad was held in Riga in 1990, 1993, 2003 and 2013.
- “So Much or … How Much?” for 4th grade pupils, taking place since 2004.
NMS staff members are also actively conducting research in the areas of modern elementary mathematics and didactics of mathematics.
Several scholars recently defended PhD thesis, developed at the Extramural Mathematics School:
- Līga Ramāna, Invariant method in elementary mathematics and its role in development of the high school mathematics course, 2004
- Ilze France, Optimization of teaching of geometry in primary school, 2005
- Dace Bonka, The interpretation method in elementary mathematics and mathematical competitions for the elementary school age students, 2008
- Gunta Lāce, Professional competence of primary school mathematics teachers in the didactics of mathematics, 2010
- Aija Cunska, Possibilities of using ICT in teaching mathematics at schools, 2013
Conferences and congresses organized by the Extramural Mathematics School:
- 2nd International Conference Creativity in Mathematics Education and Education of Gifted Students – 2002
- 2nd International Conference Gifted Children: Challenges and Possibilities – 2009
- 6th International Conference Creativity in Mathematics Education and Education of Gifted Students – 2010
- 6th International Congress The World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions – 2010
(to be updated)