- These instructions should be read in conjunction with the general description of Math Madness found on this page: https://www.aretelabs.com/math_madness/about
- Math Madness is an event hosted at www.aretelabs.com which is a web application (as opposed to a mobile application). All users on this platform, teachers and students, are assigned their own individual accounts and all access those accounts from the same page: www.aretelabs.com/login.
- The first of the two core responsibilities of the teacher who has registered his/her team for Math Madness is to add students to the team on the Manage Team page. A teacher may add a student with or without using the student's email address. In the former case, the system sends an email directly to the student with an invitation link which can be followed to complete account activation. This is normally the more convenient method because it allows students to reset their passwords without teacher involvement. However, there may be network filter issues with some schools which prevent the student from receiving the invitation from the system (they should check their spam folders). In this case, the teacher can click the “Copy Link” button next to the student’s name and send the invite link directly to the student in a private email. Alternatively, when a student is added without using an email address, the system automatically generates a username and password which can then be passed along to the student. To access their accounts, students must log in on the same page as the teacher logs in. If a password is forgotten, the teacher can reset that password by clicking the “Reset” button next to the student’s name. CRITICAL: Students must activate/access their accounts PRIOR to their first match. They will not be able to play in a match if they activate their account AFTER the match has started (although they will be able to play in all future matches). Entering actual first/last names is not required. Teachers may instead enter fake names to conceal student identity.
- The second of the two core responsibilities of the teacher is to set the Match Time for the team, a selection which is made on the Schedule page with the “Math Madness” tab selected. This is the day/time during the week when the team will compete. It can be changed during the week and from week to week. If a Match Time is missed (e.g., school emergency) and not a single student signs on during the 30-minute period, then the Match Time will automatically reset to 11PM Saturday, the last possible moment to play the match during that round. A teacher can then change that Match Time to any day/time still remaining in the round. The Match Time remains fixed from round to round unless changed by the teacher. For all NEW teachers, the Match Time is set to 11PM Saturday BY DEFAULT until the teacher makes a new selection. THE TEAM NEED NOT PLAY AT THIS TIME. In fact, teams are NEVER required to play at any specific day/time. Instead, teachers are free to set the Match Time to the most convenient time for their team.
- A teacher has the option to fill in his/her Team Availability. This selection appears under Match Time. These are time spans when the team can possibly play (Match Time is when the team will actually play). The more time spans that are added, the better the system will be able to match teams together that can play live. That is, if two opposing teams for any given round set the same Match Time (adjusted for time zone differences), the match will be live with both team scores updating in real time on the student’s scoreboard. A live match is always denoted in green on the calendar of the Schedule page. Teachers should always review the Team Availability of their opponent, presented on the right side of the Schedule page, to see if a time to play live is possible and reach out to the teacher if so. The opponent teacher’s email address is displayed for such purposes.
- A countdown timer that marks the time remaining until the next match starts appears on the Schedule page at right/bottom. It can be used to double check that the Match Time set is correctly.
- When the time for the match arrives (Match Time), all logged-in students are automatically re-directed to the Match Arena where the questions are presented. There is no additional student or teacher action required. A student entering a match late may still participate for the allotted time that remains. Best Practice for new teachers: Set the Match Time to a time 5-10 minutes later than the actual preferred time to play. Seat all students and make sure all are logged in. THEN set the Match Time to two or more minutes into the future (the system requires at least two minutes to process the request on the back end).
- For the majority of Math Madness, students play independently in the context of a team. During a match, only one browser with one tab directed to the AreteLabs website may be opened by the student. No other computer programs may be open or in use. An exception may be made where the student is an English Language Learner and needs assistance with translation.
- All matches in Math Madness last 30 minutes. Nonetheless, students are encouraged to complete each match with 1-2 minutes remaining. For example, on rare occasions time on the clock in the Match Arena may slow down (a browser phenomenon) or there may be network issues (poor connection speed) affecting the proper presentation of time. Regardless of the time that might remain on the clock, the application server automatically terminates each session when the precise moment for the conclusion of the match arrives, i.e., 30 minutes after the selected Match Time. As such, a student who enters a match late will not have the full 30 minute time period to complete the questions, only the time remaining.
- All questions in a Math Madness match are either multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank. Normally, correct answers to fill-in-the-blank questions will take the form of an integer with an occasional negative sign being necessary. As such, students should be instructed to avoid entering unnecessary punctuation, words, etc., as part of their answer. A comma should never be used to indicate the thousand place (e.g., enter 1056, NOT 1,056). To enter an answer that includes a decimal for a fill-in-the-blank question, either of the following two forms is acceptable: "0.5", ".5". While questions appear to students in random order, students are free to scroll through the questions as they play and answer in any order they prefer. Moreover, students are not restricted as to how much time to spend on any given question but only by the overall match length.
- Team score is calculated by simply taking the top 5 individual scores from a team and adding them together. A team can field less than 5 players on occasion (this should be an exception not a practice) but it will be at a scoring disadvantage. In case of a tie, the team with the shorter average time to complete the match is judged the winner. This mechanism is the only feasible solution in an event structured like this where a new round immediately follows the preceding round with no time to make adjustments in between. Nonetheless, students are encouraged to focus on answer correctness, not speed, since answer correctness decides the great majority of matches, approximately 95%.
- Students can be added to a team throughout the season. There are no restrictions as to overall team size although additional students may affect the price to be paid. Any "Starting" student logged in during a match can play. However, a teacher may "Bench" a student on the Manage Team page if desired in which case the student will not be redirected to the Match Arena when the match begins even if logged into the system. There is no benefit to benching a student unless it is for disciplinary reasons, that is, a "Starting" student who does not play will not harm team score.
- A registered team must consist of students from the same school. A student may compete in an event above his/her grade level but not below. A request for an exception to this can be sent to the event organizer, but in all such cases a team including such student(s) cannot participate in the formal bracket tournament. Students on the same team cannot compete at different times during any given round but must instead compete together at the same time from a school location under the supervision of their teacher or school official. Exceptions to the location/supervision provision, again, may be made upon request. No exceptions will be made during the Bracket Phase. (Note that due to COVID 19, this general rule will be modified/relaxed during the 2020 season. Exact instructions will be given just prior to the event launch and will be updated from time to time as the event progresses.)
- The event opens with a practice round which is optional but highly encouraged for new schools. Students play individually in this round.
- The practice round is followed by two collaboration rounds. For these rounds, first, recall that top 5 player scoring continues to be operative. The teacher should divide the team such that there are a minimum 5 mini-teams if possible, at least 2 students per mini-team but no maximum. This action is not taken inside the app but in a "physical" sense in the classroom. One student then logs in and answers on behalf of each mini-team. Where a team cannot be divided into 5 mini-teams with multiple members because the team is not large enough, then the teacher can divide as preferred (e.g., one group of 2 and one group of 3 if the team has 5 players total) but all students should log in. Here, the mini-team members must agree on the answer for a question and then all input the exact same answer, simultaneously. The teacher should verify that the students answered identically on the excel report that becomes available after the match.
- The two collaboration rounds are followed by the qualifying rounds where students return to playing individually.
- With data from the two qualifying rounds, each team is placed into one of a series of bracket tournaments which commence in round 5. The top 64 teams compete in the Title bracket. To qualify for the Title bracket, a team must play in both qualifying rounds. The remaining teams are divided into brackets based on team size, with DIIA being composed of the smallest teams. The full bracket tournament takes 6 rounds to play through. Once a team is eliminated from a bracket, it must sit out the following round before being included in the informal match-making thereafter. This is because the system uses content from the previous bracket round to fuel such matches.
- If a round of Math Madness is missed by a team, it cannot be made up during a following round. However, a team can opt in/out of most rounds during Math Madness. This action is taken on the Schedule page to the right of the calendar. A team that has opted in for any given round is fully expected to play unless an emergency scenario exists, given that it has been assigned to an opponent team that is expecting it to play. Nonetheless, if a team cannot play, the teacher should notify the opposing coach and offer an explanation. The system creates all matches for the following round early Sunday morning. Therefore, if a teacher wishes to opt in/out of any given round, this action must be taken (on the Schedule page with the Math Madness tab selected, next to the calendar) by Saturday 12:00PM ET of the preceding round at the latest.
- It is the responsibility of the coach to review all scores that contribute to team score after each match to confirm the legitimacy of results. During the final two bracket rounds, students who contribute to team score must submit their work and teachers must verify that work and report back to the organizer at the email address below. Note that during one or more rounds during the Math Madness event, score may be hidden from all students, a method to ensure scoring integrity.
- If a coach or student detects an error in a problem, that error should be communicated to the event organizer, Timothy Kelley, by the coach. If an error is confirmed by the event organizer, the question will be corrected in the system so as to avoid affecting future matches. In addition, the score of the reporting coach's team will be recalculated along with that of its opponent. In the case of a bracket match, the team with the higher score after such recalculation will advance. Only those teachers that report the error BEFORE a round concludes are entitled to such a score review because of the inherently complex technical issues involved with such a large number of teams continuing from round to round in close succession.
- Of critical utility, the problems and solutions of every round are made available to the teacher immediately after the team plays its match for review with students while still engaged by the competition. To access, a teacher can click any date at left on the Results page and a pdf icon will appear at right. In addition, an excel icon will also be displayed which the teacher can download to review various student statistics.
- On the Schedule page, there is a "Watch" button where a teacher can watch student scores updating in real time.
- A teacher has the option to upload a Mascot photo on the Manage Team page. This image will then appear prominently in various areas of the application during the event. For optimal presentation, use an image that is an exact square. We highly encourage teachers to take 5 minutes to accomplish this as it contributes greatly to the overall atmosphere!
- To supplement Math Madness activity, a teacher may create a match on his/her own on the Create Match page, either by dividing the team into multiple teams that play against each other (intra-team) or by challenging another team to a match (inter-team). Past and present Math Madness content is available to fuel such matches on Step 2 under "Question Sets". Note that these matches cannot be edited. If a change is needed, cancel the match and recreate. New teachers are encouraged to create a 2-team intra-team match between 2 "fake" students, one on each team, to test the experience from the student's perspective. Alternatively, a teacher is free to create a fake student account and log in during an official Math Madness match, although answering questions is prohibited.
- While an invoice is emailed to a teacher immediately upon registration, a copy of that invoice is available for download on the Events page, including an AreteLabs W-9 form if needed by the school's accountant.
- Desktops, laptops, and tablets (Chrome/iPad) are the recommended devices for this platform. Mobile phone utilization should be avoided if possible. New teachers are encouraged to test their computers/network, etc., prior to their first Math Madness match by creating an informal match of their own on the Create Match page. All users are strongly encouraged to only use the most up to date version of their preferred browser. Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari are the browsers most often used.
- If any trouble occurs while a user is engaging with the platform, refreshing the page can almost always solve the problem. Taking this one step further, Ctrl+Shift+R can solve a "Processing Error" that might appear when students are actually competing in the Match Arena. This is an error related to a computer/browser's cache processes. In addition, there are numerous question mark symbols throughout the application pages that can provide helpful information when clicked.
- Only one coach can be assigned per team. Teachers are free, however, to share credentials where more than one coach is involved.
- A calculator (e.g., any of the TI line including the Nspire) is permitted in the middle school and high school events (NOT the elementary event), as well as pens, pencils, and empty scratch paper. Desmos and similar apps are NOT allowed.
- The submission of unique student ID information is not required for registration purposes nor does AreteLabs utilize student or teacher data in any way. Moreover, students are free to conceal their identity, a selection made on their Profile page.
- Prizes are not awarded in this event.
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