Students need to learn so many skills before they enter the adult world and start making decisions on their own. While schools are working hard to prepare children for the future, some lessons cannot be taught in the classroom. 

With this gap, it is no surprise many young people spend their first few years away from home struggling to figure out how to succeed on their own. As parents, educators, and business leaders have come together, they have realized that academic competitions are one of the best ways to teach these missing skills. 

When students participate in an academic competition, they learn the real-world skills not taught in school while also putting into practice the concepts they have already touched on. 

One of the abilities the next generation will need to succeed in today’s digital world is data management. Academic competitions like The Modeling the Future Challenge are swooping in to teach students this marketable tool in a fun and concrete way. 

 

So, why is data management so important?

 

Data management helps us make big decisions. 

Both personally and professionally, all decisions we make are based on some form of data. Think about it. When you get dressed in the morning, you may look at the expected high and low temperatures, if there is rain, snow, or sun outside, and what season it is, to decide what to wear. 

While this is a simple example, each of these is a piece of data you thought about to make an educated decision. The process is no different for big decisions like making an investment, taking a job, or how many college classes to take at a time. 

Teaching students how to organize and manage the data they encounter daily will help them make their own big decisions in the future.

 

Data management helps us see the big picture. 

When small things happen over a large period-of-time, it is easy to miss their impact. However, when we take a step back and look at the entirety of any situation, it’s easy to see the effects of small repetitive actions; a great example of this rainfall in a given region. It may seem only to rain a few inches at a time, but when you look at the totals for the entire year, you can spot a surplus or deficits and make changes accordingly. These big picture realizations are the driving force behind the daily realities of our lives. 

  

Data management is one of the best tools a business can leverage for growth.

Whether a company is large or small, they are continuously collecting data from various points; what customers buy and don’t buy, what time of year materials are available or out of stock, even what time of day they need more staff in the building. 

These may seem like obvious decisions, but every one of them is based on the data someone collected and organized to guide best practice. Having good data management skills will make students an asset to whatever company or industry they decide to pursue.

 

Where can students learn data management skills?

Unfortunately, the formal education system doesn’t do much for teaching data science and data management. We need to look beyond the formal classroom to help with this critical real-world skill. One of the best academic competitions for teaching students data management is the Modeling the Future Challenge. In this competition, students get the opportunity to solve real-world problems by collecting and analyzing data. 

Participants in the Modeling the Future Challenge won’t stop there, though. They will then use what they have learned to develop a solution that can be implemented to make the world we live in a better place. That means they will need to organize and present their data so that others can understand their concept and the outcome. 

This part is crucial because students will be presenting their ideas to leading business professionals in the industries they may themselves work one day. 

The Modeling the Future Challenge is the perfect balance of pushing students to learn new skills and motivate them to work hard to achieve their goals. 

Registration is already open for the Modeling the Future Challenge, so don’t wait and register today! 

If your ready to have fun and learn new skills along the way, head to our competitions page to see what academic competitions are coming up. Set up your account to follow competitions that excite you and stay up-to-date on all the news with academic competitions.

See more than one academic competition you would like to participate in? Upgrade to a premium account so you can track your progress in competitions, get insider information on academic competitions, access the ICS competitions concierge, and gain exclusive discounts on ICS-managed programs.”

170 teams from across the country challenged themselves with qualifying scenarios in the 2019-20 MTF Challenge. This past week The Actuarial Foundation announced the 98 teams that qualified for the project phase of the challenge! These teams have completed one or more intense qualifying scenarios to move forward. Each scenario challenged students to analyze real-world data and respond to questions including statistical analysis, trend projections, risk identification, and critical-thinking.

The qualified teams are now being connected with actuary mentors through The Actuarial Foundation’s network of volunteers. These teams will have until the end of February to complete their own modeling the future project and present a report on how they expect climate change or water access to impact the future of agriculture! See if a team from your state qualified in the list below, and don’t forget to check out the Modeling the Future Challenge website on how you can join the challenge to help model the future next year!

 

2019-20 MTF Challenge Qualifying Teams:

Team Name School or Organization City, State
Acton Boxborough Team Acton Boxborough Regional High School Acton, MA
NDBeSmarTigers Notre Dame High School Belmont, CA
Mathmagicians Whitney High School Cerritos, CA
Accurate Actuary Whitney High School Cerritos, CA
Math Modelling Hamilton High School Chandler, AZ
Payton – Team 2 Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago Public Schools) Chicago, IL
Payton – Team 1 Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago Public Schools) Chicago, IL
Cream of the Crop Student Team Clarkstown, NY
Blue Devil Hedge Columbus High School Columbus, GA
CHS Visionaries Columbus High School Columbus, GA
Squad-ratics iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
Minute Men iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
High Voltage iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
Alge-bros iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
10% Rule Monta Vista High School Cupertino, CA
Science Bound Science Bound Des Moines, IA
Central Academy A Central Academy Des Moines, IA
Central Academy B Central Academy Des Moines, IA
Unicorn 5 NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
Unicorn 1 NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
Unicorn 4 NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
Purple Potato Donkey NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
HHS Streaks! Harrisonburg High School Harrisonburg, VA
Falcons Kalani High School Honolulu, HI
Dolphins R Us Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science Hot Springs, AR
ASMSA Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science Hot Springs, AR
Booravo Booravo Irvine, CA
Paxon Eagle Paxon School for Advanced Studies Jacksonville, FL
Paxon Paxon School for Advanced Studies Jacksonville, FL
Jericho A Jericho High School Jericho, NY
Jericho B Jericho High School Jericho, NY
Don’t Spill The Beans Kalaheo High School Kailua, HI
[redacted] Consulting Kalaheo High School Kailua, HI
GSMST-Team 3-5 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-3 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 7-10 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-3-2 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-1 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 7-11 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-7 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-4 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
Atoms High Technology High School Lincroft, NJ
LAHS Team A LAHS Math Modeling Club Los Altos, CA
LAHS Team B LAHS Math Modeling Club Los Altos, CA
MVHS Math Modeling #2 Mountain View High School Math Modeling Club Los Altos, CA
Alphabeta North Hollywood High School Los Angeles, CA
Math Matters Milton High School Milton, GA
Mathigators Everglades High School / Miami Dade College Miramar, FL
Mountain View High Math Modeling Team Mountain View High School Math Modeling Club Mountain View, CA
Team Rocket Hunter College High School New York, NY
team pepe Hunter College High School New York, NY
HCHS Hunter College High School New York, NY
Glenbrook North 1 Glenbrook North High School Northbrook, IL
Wheatley WildCalcs The Wheatley School Old Westbury, NY
Casti Corn Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
The Bean Team Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
ESAD Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
Wayzata Blue Wayzata High School PLYMOUTH, MN
Wayzata Gold Wayzata High School PLYMOUTH, MN
Five Guys Burgers and Math Richard Montgomery High School Potomac, MD
🙂 Richard Montgomery High School Potomac, MD
Bulldog Warriors Winston Churchill High School Potomac, MD
Perfectly Phat Pandas Wootton High School Potomac, MD
Green Independent Redmond, WA
Cutwrongs Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Calcoholics Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
The Wurst Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
McGERM!! Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Crystal Math Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Joshua n’ Co. Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Zim Boys Never Broke Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
America’s Next Math Models Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
Tigers Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
Lick-Wilmodeling Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
√-1 2^3 ∑ Π (I Ate Some Pie) Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
Proof School Proof School San Francisco, CA
St. Ignatius Blue St. Ignatius College Preparatory San Francisco, CA
ZOOM East Side Union High School San Jose, CA
MANEssentials East Side Union High School San Jose, CA
Team Darius East Side Union High School San Jose, CA
Static Function Santa Teresa High School San Jose, CA
QLS Math Quarry Lane School San Ramon, CA
Team Geicko West Ranch High School Santa Clarita, CA
Team REKT West Ranch High School Santa Clarita, CA
Maria Carrillo Pumaths Maria Carrillo High School Santa Rosa, CA
Zoomers Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
Cookies ‘n Cream Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
Water Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
SuperBoyz Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
1blair Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring, MD
Waukee APEX – Foxtrot Waukee APEX Waukee, IA
Waukee APEX – Tango Waukee APEX Waukee, IA
Westtown 3 Westtown School West Chester, PA
Westtown Moose 1 Westtown School West Chester, PA
Westlake Modeling Connecting for Kids Westlake, OH
Differentiation Nation Yorkville High School Yorkville, IL
Team Stemmet Yorkville High School Yorkville, IL

We all know that the season of college applications can be incredibly stressful. From deciding where to apply, to finding good recommendation letters, to writing essays, to worrying whether or not you'll actually get in, there are plenty of things keeping students and parents up late at night. Then, on top of everything, you have to wonder, how in the world are you going to pay for it all? 

According to the College Board, the average cost of annual tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. Financial aid from the schools is becoming harder and harder to come by. However, academic competitions are stepping up to fill the void. In this previous post, we looked at the big science competitions and how they're helping thousands of students each year not only get accepted to, but also pay for college.

With this in mind, we wanted to research how mathematics competitions stack up. So we dug into it and identified 36 nationwide (United States) mathematics-focused competitions for high school students. We evaluated how they do in supporting our next generation of STEM leaders. For this analysis, we focused on "pure" math competitions, leaving out science fairs and other STEM research competitions that certainly include math, but have other specific topics as their main focus.

What did we find? First off, there is a new shining star among mathematics competitions. Only 14% of mathematical competitions for high school students directly offer significant college scholarships or cash awards (we defined the cutoff for this at being an award of >$1000 for the top team). The new leader among these is in its first year this fall - the Modeling the Future Challenge.

86% of the national mathematical competitions we researched included little or no direct prize money or scholarship awards for their winners. This does not mean they included no awards at all. Some have great travel opportunities for their top teams to go to international conferences or events. Many are tied into the Mathematical Association of America's network of contests leading toward the International Mathematics Olympiad. Some foundations then use student scores on these exams to provide scholarships. And for the few students that get the chance to go all the way to the international conference, this is indeed a great experience. So there certainly are benefits to these competitions.

 

 

The MTF Challenge leads the pack among math competitions providing $60,000 in guaranteed awards, and a $25,000 first place college scholarship. Not only that, but the Finalist Teams each receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where they participate in the Modeling the Future Symposium and meet with professional actuaries to learn how math can be applied to their future careers. 

The Modeling the Future Challenge takes students beyond the exam into real-world applied mathematics. It connects what you teach them in the classroom with actual data analysis and helps students see the true value in applying their mathematical knowledge to cutting edge technologies and careers. "The Modeling the Future Challenge echoes what actuaries do for their careers. It provides students with the opportunity to connect with what mathematics is all about," said Jason Leppin, Executive Director of The Actuarial Foundation, the non-profit behind the competition. “We want to provide life-changing scholarships for students, and demonstrate that math really can lead to amazing careers like being an actuary, which is consistently ranked among one of the top rated careers.

To win the challenge, students analyze one of the hottest technologies around - autonomous vehicles - and use mathematical modeling to determine how they expect the adoption of autonomous vehicles to change the future. Will it revolutionize how we commute to work? Will it change the way we ship our packages and goods? Will it create new opportunities in how we design our cities? Students will use math to make their own decisions on the changes they expect, based on their own analysis of real data! They’ll write this up in a brief report and have a shot at The Actuarial Foundation’s industry leading big dollar scholarships.

So, this year, rather than just putting your students through another exam, make sure they don't miss out on the chance for a trip to New York City, the $60,000 award purse, and the big scholarships available through the Modeling the Future Challenge. Their college applications and future selves will definitely thank you for it. You can register your team of students up until October 28th. Then the 1-month challenge period begins, when students can analyze the data and submit their final projects which are due November 25th!

To learn more about the challenge topic, data sources, and submission requirements check out: www.mtfchallenge.org.