Bebras is an international initiative whose goal is to promote Informatics and Computational Thinking among teachers and students of all ages.
The Bebras Challenge is a contest made of a set of short questions, which are known as “Bebras tasks”. These tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about Informatics, but are clearly related to Informatics concepts. To solve those tasks, students are required to think in and about information, discrete structures, computation, data processing, but they also must use algorithmic concepts. Each Bebras task can both demonstrate an aspect of Informatics and test the talent of the participant, regarding Informatics.
Bebras Challenge is organized in over 40 countries with over 1 000 000 student participants. Click HERE to see the countries.
Bebras is a collective effort of many countries and Bebras Singapore is privileged to be part of the Bebras community.
Computer science is a very international discipline, and Bebras embodies this principle outstandingly!
The idea of Bebras was born in Lithuania, by Prof. Valentina Dagiene from University of Vilnius. Bebras is the Lithuanian word for “beaver”. The thought rushed into head during the travel around Finland in 2003 and discussions about how we could attract pupils to learn informatics. The activity of beavers on strands was so noticeable, that it suggested the symbol of the challenge… Beavers look like persistent stickers who endeavour for perfection in their field of activities and beaver away to reach the target. Their everyday job seems to be a trial: the one who pulls down more trees will stem more streams… Therefore, our competition was named after the hard-working, intelligent, and lively beaver.
The first Bebras challenge was organised in Lithuania in 2004. The Bebras challenge has quickly spread across the world and 2012 more than 500 000 students participated. Bebras is the non-school activity in Informatics education with the largest audience.
One of Valentina Dagiene’s goals was to establish Bebras as an international initiative on Informatics at schools. Since its beginnings, several European countries have joined Bebras: Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, and Poland were the firsts to join in 2006. In 2007, Austria, Latvia, and Slovakia organised their first Bebras challenges, while Czech Republic and Ukraine started their challenges in 2008. In 2009, Italy joined Bebras, and 2010 saw first Bebras challenges in Finland and Switzerland. In 2011, France, Hungary, and Slovenia jumped in, and Japan saw the first non-European Bebras challenge; also trial challenges were run in Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, and Spain. In 2012 more countries joined Bebras community: Bulgaria, Sweden, and Taiwan.
The First Bebras Challenge
The history of Bebras challenge began on September 25, 2004, in Lithuania, when experimental trial, in which 779 school students participated, was held. Its aim was to check selected technologies of the challenge and to evaluate the level of complexity of the presented problems. After a month, on October 21, the first Lithuanian Bebras challenge took place. As many as 3470 pupils from 146 schools participated.
During the challenge, each participant has 45 minutes to solve 18 problems of various levels of complexity: 6 problems for 3 points, 6 – for 4 points, and 6 – for 5 points. Correct answer adds as many points as indicated to the problem, incorrect one – minuses 25% of the indicated points (i.e. – 0,75, – 1, and – 1,25 point, respectively), unanswered problems – 0 points. To avoid negative results, each participant must start having the amount of points equal to the total number of the problems (e.g. 18 points in the Bebras-2004).
Each group was given two hours to perform the challenge, collect the results, and send them to the organisers. Preliminary results were calculated and announced the next day. All participants of the challenge, as well as local organisers, received certificates of thanks from Bebras Organizing Committee. Winners of every age group, as well as the other prizewinners of each class, were awarded with Bebras diplomas and valuable prizes established by sponsors.
For the first challenge the competition documents were published in PDF format, taking into account that PDF is universal file format that preserves fonts, images, graphics, and layout of any source document, regardless of the application or platform used to create it.
The local organizer had to download from the official Bebras site (www.bebras.lt) the software (Acrobat Reader 5.0 CE with some extra programs for testing computers and collecting results) and PDF registration form (its aim was to collect the basic information about the participants: contacts, OS, number of students and computers involved). Filled in forms had to be uploaded to the server of the National Examination Centre, which organised collection and preliminary processing of the results. One week before the challenge, local organisers could download the packages of problems for each group.
On the day of challenge, at fixed time known in advance, the Bebras site reveals the passwords for opening of the problems. The challenge starts when the first problem is opened and ends when the participant pushes the “Exit” button or when time allowed for solution expires. The program forms the coded answer file. The local organiser must collect these files (via local network or manually) and then upload them to the server of the National Examination Centre. When the answers are collected, the program investigates them, calculates the results, sorts them according to schools, regions, age groups, etc.
Excel League Private Limited has been organising the Singapore and Asian Schools’ Math Olympiad (SASMO) for 10 years.
We have restructured our organization to align our resources to serve our customers and partners better.
Singapore International Math Contests Centre (SIMCC) is a subsidiary of Excel League Private Limited that manages and runs all our contests and training. SIMCC is one of the largest math contests organizers in Singapore and Asia. We are committed to popularizing mathematics education through thinking games and competitions, and allowing students to interact, cooperate and build lasting bonds of friendship that transcend borders. SIMCC organizes:
- SASMO – Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad
- SIMOC – Singapore International Math Olympiad Challenge
- SMKC – Singapore Math Kangaroo Contest
- American Mathematics Olympiad (AMO) in the ASEAN region and Hong Kong
More information about SIMCC on https://simcc.org/
SIMCC would like to invite you to join its new Computational Thinking Competition: Bebras Singapore.
Last April 2016, a total of 645 students from 15 schools participated in the First Bebras Trial Challenge 2016: 152 students from Primary 5 & 6, 332 from Secondary 1 & 2, 151 from Secondary 3 & 4, and 10 Junior College students.
We are excited again to help teachers in delivering engaging Digital Technologies Education in the classroom.
The Bebras Challenge is running by using automatic challenge management systems. Data collection usually is integrated into these systems.
Many data can be collected during the contest: starting from simple counting participant’s age, gender and going to more complex investigation about tasks solving process, what tasks they chose more, how much time spend for solving them, etc.
The table below shows the number of participants in Bebras 2015.
More information on Bebras Challenge Statistics on Bebras.Org
Bebras Challenge provides a lot of data for making inquiries on how students accept Informatics concepts, how they develop computational and algorithmic thinking, what type of tasks help attract them and motivate for further involvement, etc.
Some countries started to develop research papers year by year. Other countries have published overviews of tasks with detailed explanations how to solve them and what Informatics concepts are behind.
Published articles can be found HERE