Math Madness gives students the opportunity to compete as a team.

Both last year and again this year, Proof School is participating in Math Madness, a team-based math competition involving hundreds of schools from throughout the United States. Proof School is quite judicious about the math contests in which we choose to participate; one reason we like this one is because of its emphasis on teams rather than individuals. Just as in an athletic competition, we compete as a Proof School team against another school's team. There is no limit on the size of a school team, and approximately half of our students are participating this year. From what I have seen, our students very much enjoy taking part in this contest, and it has helped foster school spirit.

Math Madness consists of five "regular season" contests, followed by a 64-team elimination tournament that is modeled after the NCAA basketball tournament. As I write this report on November 6th, both the middle school and the high school team have won their first-round matches. Last year our middle school team reached the "final four" before losing in the semifinals, and our high school team made it all the way to the finals of their bracket, before losing in the championship game.

To provide a little more detail, Math Madness is a computer-based contest. After we are matched up against another school, all of our participants log into the contest website at a specified time (1 p.m. on Tuesdays this year), and at this time, they are presented with a group of problems to solve. At any given point in the contest, the student's screen will look something like this:

MathMadnessOctagonJPEG.jpg

An observer watching the contest online will see a screen like this:

Typically, the two competing schools do not participate at the same time, so the contest relies on the honesty of all the schools involved. In the screenshot above, taken on November 1st, you can see that our competitor school from Texas did not solve the problems until November 4th. But when both teams have finished and a winner has been determined, you can log into the system and see a page like this:

Hooray! The middle school defeated Union Middle School in San Jose this week, and will be moving on to the next round.

If you would like to keep track of our progress throughout this year's tournament, go to the bracket page.

To watch our matches live at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, go to the Watch Match page. Click on the tab in the upper-left corner of the screen to switch back and forth between the middle school team and the high school team. Good luck, Proofniks!

-- Steve Gregg