Applied Math Learning: Free Challenge to Award Scholarships
The lines of math learning are fluid. Cross-disciplinary math is a push in P-20 learning and “real world” math application is at the heart of the shift. Students who can take the rudimentary math skills that they learn and apply them to other subject areas and their lives are students who will truly understand math concepts long-term.
One organization trying to give a lift to this type of math learning is The Moody’s Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Moody’s Corporation that funds education-based causes. The Moody’s Mega Math (M3) Challenge, organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, challenges teams of high school juniors and seniors to work together to solve an advanced applied math problem.
Registration for the 2017 Moody’s Mega Math Challenge event is open online now and closes on February 17. The event is completely free to enter.
The Challenge is designed for high school juniors and seniors. Teams of 3 to 5 students get together during Challenge weekend – February 24 to 27 – to download the problem. They have 14 hours to upload their solution to be entered to win part of $150,000 in college scholarship money. The top team will be awarded $20,000 and another 5 will win between $5,000 and $15,000. Another 90 teams have a shot at between $1,000 and $1,500 in semi-finalist awards.
The solutions are judged by Ph.D.-level mathematicians.
The math event is designed to elevate high school students’ enthusiasm and excitement about using mathematics to solve challenging, real-life problems and increase students’ interest in studying and pursuing mathematical, economic, and financial careers.
The M3 Challenge began for New York residents in 2006 and now the competition is national, with teams able to compete from anywhere with Internet access. From there, the top 6 teams head to New York to be judged in real time by a panel at the Final Event (here are more details about judging specifics).
Math in Real Life
What I really love about this particular challenge is its accessibility. Teams from anywhere in the U.S. can complete the challenge without needing to raise funds for travel – even the top 6 teams who get an all-expense paid trip to NYC to present at the Final Event. The teams also need diverse members in order to succeed – math concepts are the focus, but there is plenty of writing and innovation in other areas that must come into play to reach sound solutions. I also like that there is such a focus on APPLIED math or taking what students are learning in the classroom and bringing it to life in a timely and relevant way.
Students who are interested can take advantage of the many free math resources that Moody’s offers to prepare for the Challenge. Teachers can also use these resources to teach applied math concepts in classrooms.
“The main theme of the Challenge this year is preparing for success. We have tons of freely available resources that we encourage students, and their teachers, to use in preparing not only for Challenge weekend, but also to familiarize themselves generally with applied math and math modeling, which will better prep them for success in college and beyond,” said Michelle Montgomery, Director of Marketing and Outreach for the Society for Industrial and Applied mathematics and Project Director for the M3 Challenge.
“Our surveys consistently tell us that 25 percent of student participants pursue careers in applied math, finance, and economics as a result of participating in the M3 Challenge” she said.
Teachers or coaches can register teams by February 17 by heading to the M3 Challenge official page.