Einstein Science Reporting for Kids
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7-Nov-2013

Contact: Frank Kunkle
kunkle@siam.org
267-350-6388
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Math modeling contest expands westward! Registration open in 45 states and D.C.

Teams will compete for $125,000

Philadelphia, PA—With the addition of the U.S. heartland this year, more students than ever are eligible to compete for a share of $125,000 in scholarship prizes to be awarded in the 2014 Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge, a prestigious applied math competition for high school students. Internet-based and free of registration and participation fees, the M3 Challenge requires participants to consider and analyze a relevant issue using mathematical modeling to come up with a practical solution.

And while registration officially opens today, high school juniors and seniors in 45 states and Washington, D.C. have already begun forming teams in preparation for the Challenge. Registration will be open until February 28. (For a complete list of eligible states, visit http://m3challenge.siam.org/participate/rules/).

Neither the participants nor their teachers have any idea what issue the 2014 Challenge will address. The problem remains entirely unknown to teams until they log in on the morning of their scheduled day during Challenge weekend—either March 8 or 9. A final solution paper must be submitted by 9 p.m. the same night.

"Adding 17 states to the Challenge's area of eligibility is a big leap! During each previous expansion, it's been exciting to see the enthusiasm from schools in the new areas, and we are looking forward to that this year," Project Director Michelle Montgomery remarked in anticipation for the 2014 competition.

Last year, nearly 5,000 students submitted solutions to a 30-million-ton problem: Waste Not, Want Not, Putting Recyclables in Their Place. As the problem's title suggests, students were given the monumental task of quantifying the plastic waste produced in the U.S. each year, coming up with the best methods for American cities to recycle it by identifying relevant variables, and recommending guidelines for nationwide recycling standards—a problem our country's local, state, and even federal government agencies continue to work on! As if that's not impressive enough, teams had just 14 hours to produce and submit a viable solution paper.

The M3 Challenge reminds students that mathematics is vital to solving some of our nation's most trying problems. Be it stimulating the economy, extending Social Security benefits, or preserving dwindling natural resources, past competitions have challenged students to take a closer look at the mathematics behind hot-button issues. It encourages students with varying strengths and interests to address meaningful questions and sharpen skills not routinely used in their math classes—problem solving, critical thinking, writing, and communication. Teams are assessed based on approach, methods used, and creativity displayed in math modeling.

Teachers may visit m3challenge.siam.org any time before February 28 to register their teams of three to five students (up to two per school).

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To see the list of schools that registered in the 2013 Challenge – at that time, open to students in 28 states and D.C. – go to http://m3challenge.siam.org/pdf/registered_schools13.pdf.

About the Sponsor

The Moody's Foundation is a charitable foundation established by Moody's Corporation. Moody's is committed to supporting education, in particular the study of mathematics, finance and economics. The Moody's Foundation also funds specific initiatives in the areas of health and human services, arts and culture, civic and economic development programs. These programs are primarily located in New York City. Grants are also made in San Francisco, California, San Francisco, California; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and London, England.

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit and economic analysis and financial risk management. Moody's Corporation, which reported revenue of $2.3 billion in 2011, employs approximately 6,000 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 28 countries. Further information is available at http://www.moodys.com.

About the organizer

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of over 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from 85 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at http://www.siam.org.

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