Hardest Math Problem Contest 2024-25

Ages:Middle School

Type:Submission

Categories:Mathematics, STEM

Scope:National

Registration

Registration for this competition has yet to start.

Contact


hmp@hardestmathproblem.org

The Hardest Math Problem Contest is an annual competition presented by The Actuarial Foundation, the Institute of Competition Sciences, and the New York Life Foundation that challenges students in grades 6-8 to solve multistep, grade-appropriate math problems with real-world situations and engaging characters. Plus, 5th graders are eligible to participate by reaching to a higher grade level!

*** NOTE TO REGISTRANTS: An adult coach (parent, teacher, etc.) only registers ONE TIME and will be able to submit answers for all students they are coaching with their single registration (e.g., a coach with students spanning multiple grades or schools only registers once and all Challenge 1 answers will be submitted together in a single spreadsheet).

In Challenge 1, open to all, students complete a multistep word problem tailored to their grade level. In this round, only the final answer is submitted for qualification into Challenge 2. In Challenge 2, qualifiers who submitted the correct answer in Challenge 1 are eligible to participate. Students will be presented with another multistep word problem, and will be scored and judged based on how they arrived at their answer and the ingenuity of their problem solving.

The three potential Grand-Prize Student Winners, the three potential Runner-Up Student Winners, and the three potential Honorable Mention Student Winners will be chosen by a judge(s) employed by or volunteering for ICS and/or The Actuarial Foundation who apply the judging criteria to students’ numerical answer and written explanation of their reasoning. The judging criteria are delineated in the following numerical rubric:
  • Mathematical Reasoning (0-10 Points)
    • Takes valid, logical steps to solve the problem (and points out patterns or other math concepts where applicable)
    • Uses math vocabulary
      • Examples: quotient, quantity, dependent variable, distributive property
  • Clarity, Organization, and Precision (0-10 Points)
    • Explains their steps in an organized way
    • Balances the amount of detail
      • Enough detail to be clear (reader doesn’t have to figure anything out themselves), but not so much detail that it’s repetitive, confusing, or tiring to read
    • Attaches units to all numbers
      • Examples: hours/hrs, dollars/$, inch/”/in
    • Gives context of each number, especially when first used
      • Example: saying “the 5 cups of flour remaining in the bag” instead of just “5”
  • Presentation (0-5 Points)
    • Legible
    • Essay Length: half a page minimum; two pages maximum
    • Calculations (or graphs, charts, or diagrams, as applicable) are integrated into the essay body (not on a separate sheet)
  • BONUS—Innovation of Approach (0-3 Points)
    • Creative, non-traditional, or exceptionally efficient
The decisions of the judges are final and binding. TAF reserves the right to not award all prizes if, in their sole discretion, they do not receive a sufficient number of qualified and eligible entries.

Website: https://www.hardestmathproblem.org/

Managing Organization: The Actuarial Foundation

Contact:

hmp@hardestmathproblem.org

Eligibility:
Students must be in 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade living anywhere in the United States and its territories. Students can be enrolled in formal schools or be homeschooled, but all submissions must be entered by an adult age 18+. Students may submit answers to questions at or above their current grade level to enter the competition.

Registration Opens: September 16, 2024

Registration Closes: December 8, 2024

Overview

The Hardest Math Problem Contest is an annual competition presented by The Actuarial Foundation, the Institute of Competition Sciences, and the New York Life Foundation that challenges students in grades 6-8 to solve multistep, grade-appropriate math problems with real-world situations and engaging characters. Plus, 5th graders are eligible to participate by reaching to a higher grade level!

*** NOTE TO REGISTRANTS: An adult coach (parent, teacher, etc.) only registers ONE TIME and will be able to submit answers for all students they are coaching with their single registration (e.g., a coach with students spanning multiple grades or schools only registers once and all Challenge 1 answers will be submitted together in a single spreadsheet).

Process

In Challenge 1, open to all, students complete a multistep word problem tailored to their grade level. In this round, only the final answer is submitted for qualification into Challenge 2. In Challenge 2, qualifiers who submitted the correct answer in Challenge 1 are eligible to participate. Students will be presented with another multistep word problem, and will be scored and judged based on how they arrived at their answer and the ingenuity of their problem solving.

Criteria

The three potential Grand-Prize Student Winners, the three potential Runner-Up Student Winners, and the three potential Honorable Mention Student Winners will be chosen by a judge(s) employed by or volunteering for ICS and/or The Actuarial Foundation who apply the judging criteria to students’ numerical answer and written explanation of their reasoning. The judging criteria are delineated in the following numerical rubric:
  • Mathematical Reasoning (0-10 Points)
    • Takes valid, logical steps to solve the problem (and points out patterns or other math concepts where applicable)
    • Uses math vocabulary
      • Examples: quotient, quantity, dependent variable, distributive property
  • Clarity, Organization, and Precision (0-10 Points)
    • Explains their steps in an organized way
    • Balances the amount of detail
      • Enough detail to be clear (reader doesn’t have to figure anything out themselves), but not so much detail that it’s repetitive, confusing, or tiring to read
    • Attaches units to all numbers
      • Examples: hours/hrs, dollars/$, inch/”/in
    • Gives context of each number, especially when first used
      • Example: saying “the 5 cups of flour remaining in the bag” instead of just “5”
  • Presentation (0-5 Points)
    • Legible
    • Essay Length: half a page minimum; two pages maximum
    • Calculations (or graphs, charts, or diagrams, as applicable) are integrated into the essay body (not on a separate sheet)
  • BONUS—Innovation of Approach (0-3 Points)
    • Creative, non-traditional, or exceptionally efficient
The decisions of the judges are final and binding. TAF reserves the right to not award all prizes if, in their sole discretion, they do not receive a sufficient number of qualified and eligible entries.

Participate

Website: https://www.hardestmathproblem.org/

Managing Organization: The Actuarial Foundation

Contact:

hmp@hardestmathproblem.org

Eligibility:
Students must be in 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade living anywhere in the United States and its territories. Students can be enrolled in formal schools or be homeschooled, but all submissions must be entered by an adult age 18+. Students may submit answers to questions at or above their current grade level to enter the competition.

Deadlines

Registration Opens: September 16, 2024

Registration Closes: December 8, 2024