Educational competitions were no exception to those having to pivot from live events to virtual events due to the pandemic. Many competitions were left with the choice last year to cancel their culminating conferences and events of the competition season or quickly adapt their programs to the virtual space. The following educational competitions not only engage participants to solve incredible problems but have taken lemons and made lemonade by bringing about some outstanding virtual conferences and symposiums for their finalist teams to compete.
Check out these competitions making waves with their programs and upcoming virtual events!
June 9th – 14th, 2021
Future Problem Solving Program International’s (FPSPI) VIRTUAL International Conference will host over 2,200 problem-solvers from around the globe. The Opening Ceremony on June 10th, 2021 will kick off this annual event!
Champion problem solvers who have earned their spot at the International Conference will have the opportunity to virtually compete with others from around the world and will have access to many virtual collaborative experiences as well as their specific competitions. Several speakers will share sessions with students and collaborative sessions include such events as the Coach Connection, Senior Forum, Parent Meeting, and CmPS Tips and Tools.
These 4th-12th grade students have displayed futuristic thinking and the creative problem-solving process; local qualifying competitions earned them a coveted invitation to the conference. Through its programs, FPSPI prepares these students to be tomorrow’s leaders, ready to solve global problems. Global Issues Problem Solving and Scenario competitors arrive equipped to tackle potential neurotechnology problems set in the near future. These teams and individuals must research all aspects of the topic to be prepared for competitive events where a futuristic scenario will be analyzed and addressed.
Details on the topic can be found here.
Community Problem Solving is showcased in a featured event, displaying projects spanning the past year. For these student-driven projects, the participants designed a project to serve an identified need in their community. The Community Problem Solving Showcase will feature videos and posters on the FPSPI’s virtual online platform. Their YouTube channel will also feature student projects so the public can admire these dynamic youth and learn about the change they enacted.
April 22 -23rd, 2021
The Modeling the Future Challenge (MTFC) Symposium will virtually host the top 12 finalist teams to join leading actuaries, scientists, and business leaders from across the actuarial industry. An opening ceremony and keynote on April 22nd, 2021 will kick off the event. Students will then present their projects via pre-recorded videos to a live panel of actuary judges who evaluate the projects and select the four teams who will receive their part of a $60,000 award purse!
The MTFC by the Actuarial Foundation and managing partner, the Institute of Competition Sciences, tasks students with identifying and characterizing current or future risks, and using mathematics to make the best recommendations for how to manage or respond to those risks.
The 2020-21 MTFC launched an “open theme” for the challenge in which students got to choose their own project topic, similar in structure to science fairs. They then followed the Actuarial Process, designed to guide students through the stages of identifying a project topic and completing their research report for the MTFC like actuaries do for their companies and clients.
The MTFC virtual symposium is a one-of-a-kind experience for students who have a chance to participate in career sessions, problem-solving activities, icebreaker trivia events, and other unique experiences from their partners. At the conclusion of the Symposium, four teams will walk away with college scholarships, but all the students will have an amazing experience encouraging them to continue pursuing mathematics and data science in their own futures.
April 28th – 29th, 2021
NASA scientists, Space Grant Consortiums, and other experts join the Plant the Moon Challenge (PTMC) for a virtual display of final presentations and best-in-show awards on April 29th-30th, 2021. This event will be the inaugural finalist summit for the Plant the Moon Challenge!
The PTMC is produced by the Institute of Competition Sciences in partnership with Exolith Labs – the competition is a global science experiment, learning activity, and inspirational project-based-learning challenge to see who can grow the best crops using lunar regolith simulant.
Participants in the Plant the Moon Challenge will join this experiment and research challenge to examine how vegetable crops can grow in lunar soil. Each team will receive real lunar soil simulant from the University of Central Florida’s CLASS Exolith Labs! Teams will design and conduct a set of experiments using this lunar simulant to grow crops for a future long-duration lunar mission.
Teams will use a custom-designed Project Guide to help define their own experimental parameters such as the structure of the plant growth setup, amount of water used, and nutrients or fertilizer added to the lunar simulant to support plant growth. After a 10-week growing period, they submit final project reports and join the global network of researchers helping to expand the world’s lunar exploration capabilities!
All participants with completed projects will be invited to showcase their projects at the virtual symposium with NASA scientists, program executives, and other dignitaries where Best-in-Show awards will be presented to teams with the best experiments.
If you are interested in any of the competitions and events above or you’d like to learn about others, 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.
Upgrade to a premium account so you can track your progress in competitions, get insider information on academic competitions, access the I.C.S. competitions concierge, and gain exclusive discounts on ICS-managed programs
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|
|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-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|
|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|
|&amp;amp;amp;radic;-1 2^3 &amp;amp;amp;sum; &amp;amp;amp;Pi; (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.