Mathematical Kangaroo

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Mathematical Kangaroo (also known as Kangaroo challenge, or jeu-concours Kangourou in French) is an international mathematics competition in over 77 countries. There are six levels of participation, ranging from grade 1 to grade 12. The competition is held annually on the third Thursday of March. The challenge consists of problems in multiple-choice form that are not standard notebook problems and come from a variety of topics. Besides basic computational skills, they require inspiring ideas, perseverance, creativity and imagination, logical thinking, and other problem-solving strategies. Often there are small stories, intriguing problems, and surprising results, which encourage discussions with friends and family.

It is the largest competition for school students in the world[1], with over 6 million participants from 77 countries in 2019.


School students during the Kangaroo in Germany in 2006

Mathematicians in Australia came up with the idea to organize a competition that underlines the joy of mathematics and encourages mathematical problem-solving. A multiple-choice competition was created, which has been taking place in Australia since 1978. At the same time, both in France and all over the world, a widely supported movement emerged towards the popularization of mathematics. The idea of a multiple-choice competition[2] then sprouted from two French teachers, André Deledicq and Jean Pierre Boudine, who visited their Australian colleagues Peter O’Holloran[3] and Peter Taylor and witnessed their competition. In 1990, they decided to start a challenge in France under the name Kangourou des Mathématiques in order to pay tribute to their Australian colleagues. The particularity of this challenge was the desire for massive distribution of documentation, offering a gift to each participant (books, small games, fun objects, scientific and cultural trips). The first Kangaroo challenge took place on May 15th, 1991. Since it was immediately very successful, shortly afterward they spread the idea in Europe.

In May 1993, three teams of teachers from Romania, Poland and Bulgaria participated in Kangaroo together with France. After that, Kangourou des Mathématiques invited mathematicians and organizers of mathematical competitions from several European countries. All of them were impressed by the increasing number of participants in the Kangaroo challenge in France: 120 000 in 1991, 300 000 in 1992, half a million in 1993. In seven countries – Belarus, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Spain – teams of teachers decided to also organize the contest in 1994. It was a great success in all of these countries. An international competition promoting the dissemination of basic mathematical culture was born.

Since then, the competition has spread around the world. Pupils from Sweden first took part in 1999.[4] By 2011, 860,000 pupils from 9,000 schools took part in Germany, having grown rapidly from 549,000 in 2007.[5] In 2014, the competition was hosted in Latin America.[6] In 2017, the Bulgarian association held a week-long Kangaroo summer camp.[7] In Canada, math contest clubs for elementary school children teach "questions typical of the Math Kangaroo contest", starting with those with a visual component and helping to develop logic and spatial reasoning.[8] Students in Pakistan took part for the first time in 2005, the numbers increasing each year since.[9] In 2009, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that the competition was very popular in Europe, and was "finding its way into the United States".[10] Denmark first participated in 2015.[11]

Association Kangourou Sans Frontières[edit]

The members of the association Kangourou Sans Frontières at their annual meeting in Chicago in 2019

The association Kangourou sans Frontières is an international association founded in France, which is formed by math lovers from all over the world. Motivated by the importance of mathematics in the modern world, their passion is to spread the joy of mathematics, support mathematical education in schools, and promote a basic mathematical culture and a positive perception of mathematics in society. The main activity of Kangourou sans Frontières is designing the annual Kangaroo challenge and managing it on an international level. The organization of the competition in the individual countries is up to the members of Kangourou sans Frontières.

In 1994, mathematicians from 10 countries met in Strasbourg (France) and founded the association Kangourou Sans Frontières with statutes registered in Paris on January 17th, 1995. From that day on, Kangaroo has continued to grow. The number of members of the association exceeded 75 countries in 2019 and is still going up. The systematic growth of the association was accompanied by a growing professionalization and digitalization of the association. The president of the association is Dr. Meike Akveld (ETH Zürich, Switzerland).


In all participating countries the challenge is a multiple-choice test. Collecting results, marking, and awarding prizes are regulated and organized nationally. In most countries, the challenge runs for 50 up to 75 minutes.[12] It consists of 24 up to 30 problems. The sections for 3 point-, 4 point-, and 5 point-problems are equally divided. There is a penalty for an incorrect answer and no penalty for skipping a question.


Elisabeth Mellroth has investigated the use of mathematical competencies in the mathematical Kangaroo.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (February 2014). "Mathematical Kangaroo" (PDF). Maths Challenges News (44). Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  2. ^ Dolinar, Gregor (January 2012). "Twenty years of Mathematical Kangaroo". European Mathematical Society Newsletter. 85. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  3. ^ Obituary: Peter Joseph O'Halloran (1931-1994) at AMT website
  4. ^ "Vad är Kängurun - Matematikens Hopp?" (in Swedish). National Centre for Mathematics Education, University of Gothenburg. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  5. ^ Behrends, Ehrhard; Crato, Nuno; Rodrigues, José Francisco (2012). Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 45. ISBN 978-3-642-25710-0.
  6. ^ Hector, Rosario; R, Vogeli Bruce; Patrick, Scott (2014). Mathematics And Its Teaching In The Southern Americas: With An Introduction By Ubiratan D'ambrosio. World Scientific. p. 400. ISBN 978-981-4590-58-7.
  7. ^ "2017 година". Association 'European Kangaroo'. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Saturday Math Clubs". University of Toronto. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Pakistani students shine in maths contest". Dawn. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  10. ^ Hajlasz, Piotr; Swigon, David (15 March 2009). "The Next Page: Hop into the math KANGAROO". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Kaenguruen | Vinderne af Kænguruen 2018 fundet". Danmarks Matematiklaererforening. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Mathematical Kangaroo". AoPS. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  13. ^ Mellroth, Elisabet. Problem solving competency and the mathematical kangaroo. Konrad Krainer;Naďa Vondrová. CERME 9 - Ninth Congress of the European Society for Research in MathematicsEducation, Feb 2015, Prague, Czech Republic. pp.1095-1096, Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education.

External links[edit]