Expanding the Mathematics Pipeline with The Actuarial Foundation

Posted June 6, 2023 by Miranda Marshall

  • The Institute of Competition Sciences and the Actuarial Foundation have had great success developing the high school Modeling the Future Challenge.
  • Our partnership is expanding with the 2023 academic year to include the middle school Hardest Math Problem Contest.
  • To learn more, visit the Hardest Math Problem website: https://www.hardestmathproblem.org/

As the Managing Partner of The Actuarial Foundation’s Modeling the Future Challenge (MTFC), we have had the privilege of witnessing thousands of high school students present incredible research projects that detail mathematically sound recommendations to mitigate risks. The participants of the MTFC have truly amazed us with their outstanding projects analyzing pressing matters such as the local impact of environmental and community issues, as well as global issues like climate change, increasing technology concerns, and even space debris.

The MTFC has become an incredible opportunity for high school students to learn how applied mathematics, actuarial science, and risk analysis can be used to help solve real-world problems. The Actuarial Foundation strives to make mathematics exciting and attainable for students at all ages. With the success of collaborating during the MTFC, together, we are strengthening the pipeline of future actuarial professionals by introducing younger students to real-world math and data science problems.

In our continued joint effort to provide more students with opportunities to explore the world of data and actuarial science, we are excited to announce that the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) is now serving as the Managing Partner for The Actuarial Foundation’s Hardest Math Problem to help enhance and expand its impact to middle schools across the country.

The Hardest Math Problem Contest (HMP) is an annual competition that presents US students in grades 6-8 with multi-step mathematical word problems centered around real-world scenarios. Students in 5th grade are also eligible to participate as an added challenge. These problems feature relatable characters and situations that make mathematics more relevant and personal for the students. The contest not only challenges students to find the correct solution but also encourages them to explore various approaches and document the steps they took to arrive at their answers.

Through The Hardest Math Problem, The Actuarial Foundation is providing a platform for younger learners to develop their problem-solving skills and gain exposure to the practical applications of mathematics and data science. Engaging students at this stage can spark their interest in these fields and inspire them to pursue further studies in actuarial science or related disciplines, opening up a host of high-demand career pathways. The actuarial industry alone is projected to expand an astonishing 21% over the next 10 years!

The HMP consists of a two-part challenge structure, with each challenge building on the skills developed in the previous one. Students who correctly solve Challenge 1 are invited to participate in Challenge 2, where they face more complex problems that require advanced mathematical and analytical thinking. This progression allows students to continually push their boundaries and deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts.

In addition to the unparalleled learning opportunity this competition provides, the HMP offers some amazing prizes to help students kickstart their academic careers. The grand prize for the contest is a substantial $5000 contribution towards a 529 college savings plan. Furthermore, the contest also recognizes the important role of educators in supporting their students by awarding gift cards and pizza parties to celebrate the teachers who have guided the participants on their journey.

We are thrilled to be supporting the new phase of this amazing competition. To learn more about The Hardest Math Problem Student Contest, visit the official website here: https://www.hardestmathproblem.org/ or view example projects from previous years to see how the HMP can fit into your curriculum during the 2023-24 school year: https://www.hardestmathproblem.org/example-projects/