Chalk Talk Information

The chalk talk topic for 2019 is Diophantine Equations.

Photo courtesy of the Santa Barbara News-Press

Communication is an important part of mathematics, so it is appropriate that there be an event like this one in our contest. Each school selects a student to prepare a 10–12 minute talk based on a topic announced well in advance. During preliminary rounds a panel of judges collaborates to determine two finalists, who then redo their presentations before a larger audience and a different set of judges. The topic for 2006 was Polyhedra. Pictured above is the winner for that year, Sue Lin of Dos Pueblos.

For a short clip of a chalk talk in progress click the picture below.


Chalk Talk Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation form used by the panel of judges is given below. Generally, the first three categories deal with the style of the talk, while the last three deal with the content.

The talk should last between 10 and 12 minutes. It is up to the student to create a presentation that is well-organized, sufficiently in depth, and focused. In the past, some students have given talks that the students themselves did not completely understand, and the judges counted this against them. In other words, it is important that the person speaking have a good grasp of the subject. A flashy Power Point presentation without good understanding does not make for a winning formula.

The person giving a talk should rehearse it beforehand so that it flows smoothly and is within the 10–12 minute time requirement. Normally the presenter is on the 11th–12th grade team, but this guideline is not mandatory. We hope that this event will be viewed as an opportunity for learning by all the students, regardless of whether they are the presenters. It should also be a lot of fun!

Chalk Talk Evaluation Form



CATEGORIES: (Rank Each on a Scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being best)

_____ 1. Clarity of presentation

_____ 2. Use of visual aids

_____ 3. Delivery (including time)

_____ 4. Focus of topic

_____ 5. Depth of topic

_____ 6. Grasp of / correctness of mathematics

_____ TOTAL