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Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

Written by:
October 4, 2022
Written on . Posted in Math Contests, Math Curriculum, Math Modeling.

Math (and Math Modeling Contests) for Each and Every Student

COMAP’s mission has always been to improve mathematics education for all students. Sometimes when people look at our contest modeling problems and some of the outstanding papers addressing a variety of math contest problems, they think that these contests are designed only for gifted and highly motivated students. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our math modeling contests are really for everyone.

Real-World Topics

Our math modeling contest problems are chosen to demonstrate the power of mathematics to analyze and solve important problems that we and the world face every day – think global warming or pandemics. We choose problems that are real, relevant, and interesting. For example, take a look at some of our previous contest problems:

  • Roller Coasters: Develop an Objective Ranking System
  • Managing Water Usage: Water and Hydroelectric Power Sharing
  • Drone Clusters as Sky Light Displays: Design an Aerial Drone Light Show
  • Shop and Ship: Optimal Placement of Warehouses for 1-Day Ground Shipping
  • Swim, Bike, and Run: Minimize Congestion and Road Closures for a Triathlon
  • Art Gallery Security: Determine Most Secure Configuration for an Art Exhibit

The Power of a Team

These math contests are team events, encouraging students to work together with all resources available to them. This is how mathematics is done in the real world. Working on one of the COMAP contests is a true educational experience that mirrors how mathematics is actually done outside of the classroom. 

Furthermore, the level or sophistication of the mathematics used to model and gain insights into the problem is not as important as the quality and clarity of the solutions and insights. If a good solution results from a relatively simple model, so much the better for broadening understanding of the key issues involved.

Whether the result is a winning paper or not, we hear from students and teachers over and over again that the experience of using mathematics to attack an important problem with a team is a uniquely valuable and valued learning event.

Math for Each and Every Student

The math contests we run are for middle school students all the way up to undergraduate students. Our Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM®) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM®) are for undergraduate students. Then we have our High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM®) for high school students, and the Middle Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MidMCM) for middle school students. 

Read more about these math contests and learn how you can participate:

  • HiMCM/MidMCM - For high school and middle school students
  • MCM/ICM - For undergraduates and high school students

It cannot be emphasized enough, COMAP is and will always be dedicated to math for each and every student.

Written by

Sol Garfunkel

Sol Garfunkel is a mathematician who has dedicated his career to mathematics education. Since 1980, he has served as the executive director of COMAP, an award-winning non-profit organization that works with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.