Today was the 5th annual Six Rivers Conference Math Meet! It was exactly 5-3/4 years ago that I acted on the thought that our small school and the others in our athletic conference really needed an academic math event. It has gone from me and other teachers begging students to being part to being an expected event!
It also gives a chance for students to do math in a fun and challenging environment. But there is one caveat, the more, the merry is our motto. Fill up a team then go ahead and throw a few more students on the bus, with proper expectations everyone can be part. Juda had 56 students in the meet today -- out of a school of 92 students. Each student had a reasonable expectation, which really centered with them just doing their best.
To those who say a student who can only get one correct should not be part - I say "posh." It is an event, a problem solving day, a growth day - a day where math is really neat, really interesting. And when done in the proper mood with students it becomes an event that your class room academics can build from and be better. Math events should not only be gifted and talented events, though those students might excel, it should be event for anyone who can work the problems and learn from the experience.
And at least in this little corner of the world we have done it this way and have had success.