History

Perhaps you have heard of the annual mathematical competition Math Kangaroo USA. You probably know that it takes place every year on the third Thursday in March, in several places throughout the US, and that students all from grades 1 to 12 are invited to participate. If you or your child has participated, you also know that all who take part receive a T-shirt, diploma and special memento, and the top winners from each level also look forward to special prizes. You most likely support Math Kangaroo's vision of encouraging students to learn mathematics by presenting them with problems that are interesting and by rewarding their efforts. But perhaps you have at some point wondered: Why is it called “Math Kangaroo”? And where did this whole idea come from?
1980 - Started a popular mathematical competition in Australian

Its history stretches back several decades. In the 1980’s, Peter O’Halloran, an Australian mathematician and teacher, began a popular mathematical competition in his country. The test was open to anyone who wanted to participate, and included engaging and thought-provoking questions which stemmed from mathematical areas of knowledge including algebra, geometry, and logic.

1991 - Started Kangaroo competition in France

In 1991, this idea was taken up in Paris, France. The competition began to be called “Kangaroo” because of its Australian origin. Very quickly, it spread throughout Europe, and presently over 6 million students throughout the world take part. In September 2012 a nice article was published in EMS Newsletter by Prof. Gregor Dolinar, the President of Kangourou Sans Frontiéres, where one could read about history, present and future of the competition worldwide.

1998 - Started Math Kangaroo in Chicago

The vision of promoting greater commitment to the study of mathematics through the use of interesting problems and positive reinforcement also reached the United States. In 1998, Maria Omelanczuk, a trained mathematician and educator, began with a Math Kangaroo competition at the Sobieski School in Chicago.

2003 - Formed Math Kangaroo Non-profit

At that time, yearly participation in the contest increased to the point that Mrs. Omelanczuk, together with Izabela Szpiech and Joanna Lasek, formed a not-for-profit organization, Math Kangaroo in USA, NFP Inc. with purpose of organizing and promoting the competition in the US. Since 2003, the competition in the US has been handled by this charity organization. The organization also helps students prepare for the competition by sharing educational resources.

2019 - Meeting of Kangourou Sans Frontiéres took place in Chicago

In October 2019 the XXVII International Meeting of Kangourou Sans Frontiéres took place in Chicago, USA. Representatives from seventy six countries selected math questions for Math Kangaroo 2020 during that meeting.

2020 - Math Kangaroo took place online for the first time in USA

Math Kangaroo 2020 took place online for the first time in USA, due to pandemic COVID-19; over 35,000 students participated.

2020 - The second President and CEO of Math Kangaroo USA was elected

In August 2020 Maria Omelanczuk stepped down from the CEO’s position after 23 years of serving the organization. Joanna Matthiesen (Lasek) became the second President and CEO of Math Kangaroo USA, NFP, effective September 1, 2020.

Math Kangaroo is an international competition. Not only has it spread from country to country, but the various countries in which the competition takes place work together each year on choosing the problems for the contest. It also takes place at the same time throughout the world. However, the results are not compared between various countries, and prizes are awarded by the national organizers of the competition.

Enrollment from 1998 to 2021