Math Kangaroo USA is a national nonprofit organization with a mission of helping students love math. For 26 years, Math Kangaroo has organized an annual international mathematical competition for thousands of students in grades K-12. Math Kangaroo's focus is on improving students' math scores and teaching them new strategies for solving word and logic problems, helping them with critical thinking and gaining confidence in the classroom. But where did the name "Math Kangaroo" come from? Read on to learn more about our history.
1980 - Started a popular mathematical competition in Australia
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.