FALL 2020 MATH MADNESS DETAILS
100% Online, beginning as a joint initiative between American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) and AreteLabs and entering its 8th season, Math Madness is emerging as the premiere online math competition event in the United States. In 2019, over 700 schools and over 10,000 students from across the country competed in the online league, tournament and championship and the feedback continues to be overwhelmingly positive. Teachers and students just seem to love this experience.
Math Madness takes place in the fall with one event held for high school teams (9th-12th), one for middle school teams (6th-8th), and one for elementary school teams (3rd-5th). A team may consist of students from multiple grade levels within the defined grade span. TEAMS MAY REGISTER THROUGHOUT OCTOBER AND STILL BE GUARANTEED AT LEAST 5 WEEKS OF COMPETITION. This event is intended to accommodate various fall school schedules. Therefore, it takes place across the full fall season, allowing for teams to join and play as their schedules permit. Moreover, teams may opt out of those weeks they cannot play. The structure of the event is as follows:
Sep 27 - Oct 3: Practice Round
Oct 4 - Oct 10: Collaboration Round I (Fun round where kids work together in mini-teams)
Oct 11 - Oct 17: Collaboration Round II
Oct 18 - Oct 24: Qualifying Round I (Students play individually but as a team. Data from these rounds are used to assign ALL teams to a series of brackets)
Oct 25 - Oct 31: Qualifying Round II (Last week to sign up)
Nov 1 - Nov 7: Bracket Round I (Single Elimination)
Nov 8 - Nov 14: Bracket Round II
Nov 15 - Nov 21: Bracket Round III (Teams that lost in Bracket Round I can resume playing in informal, "Opt-in" matches)
Nov 22 - Nov 28: OFF for Thanksgiving
Nov 29 - Dec 5: Bracket Round IV
Dec 6 - Dec 12: Bracket Round V
Dec 13 - Dec 19: Championship Round (This round's matches may be played the previous week if Holiday breaks require)
The system arranges all matches for all rounds. Each match involves 2 teams and each round lasts 1 week. All rounds begin Sunday and end Saturday. A team can compete at any time during a given round. It can change its time to play during the round and from round to round, as well as the players it fields. In addition, a team can opt out of any round that might conflict with its school schedule, keeping the commitment required to participate in the event to a minimum. In fact, the only 2 responsibilities of a teacher throughout the entire season are to add students to the team and choose the time to play each round, simple.
If a team chooses the same time to play as its opponent, the match is live with team score updating in real time. To add to the excitement, individuals from opposing teams are matched together evenly based on past performance, a second level of competition. If teams cannot find a common time to compete, then each team plays at a time convenient for it, with the winner decided after both teams have played. In this case, students square up against their personal best.
All matches are 30 minutes in length and all students from the same team must play under the supervision of their teacher, simultaneously and individually. Thus, each student must have separate access to a computer/tablet and the internet. A team must field a minimum of 5 players per match (or risk being at a scoring disadvantage) but a maximum team size is not imposed. When the match starts, all team members logged into the AreteLabs website are automatically redirected to the Match Arena where a scoreboard is displayed as well as a question area. Each match includes 7-8 multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. Content at the high school level is primarily aligned with AMC 10/12, at the middle school level with AMC 8, and at the elementary level with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Common Core State Standards (CCSS). We are adding 3rd grade content to the elementary event for the first time in 2020 to make it more approachable for younger students. Almost all content overlaps to some degree with the CCSS more generally.
NEW FOR 2020: IF A HIGH SCHOOL TEAM FINDS THE CONTENT TOO DIFFICULT IN THE 9th-12th EVENT, IT CAN BE REASSIGNED TO THE 6th-8th EVENT. SO TOO CAN A MIDDLE SCHOOL TEAM BE REASSIGNED TO THE 3-5th EVENT. This action might be particularly appropriate for teams composed of strictly 9th grade students or 6th grade students, respectively. Note that such teams cannot, however, qualify for and compete in the championship at the end of the bracket phase. The rationale for allowing such reassignment is that while maintaining a wide spread of difficulty to engage students of all abilities is the perennial goal of our program, our content nonetheless tends to be more challenging than simple, on average. Indeed, it is expertly crafted and students are sure to improve their problem-solving skills by persevering through the questions. Nonetheless, we recognize that occasionally teams can be overwhelmed by the content - and not necessarily due to ineptitude. They may focus on different areas in math, for example. We want this event to be as inclusive as possible to teams of all ability, not just "top end" teams. This option better aligns content with team ability and promotes more even competition, both leading (we hope) to better performance outcomes. We welcome feedback on this issue going forward. In all cases, teachers should relate to students not to expect to achieve 100% scores and encourage them to focus on improvement, not winning, as the goal of the experience.
A student receives 1 point for each question answered correctly. Team score is calculated by summing the top 5 individual scores of the given team. Students are not restricted to a specific time length for answering any given question. Once the match is over, questions and solutions are immediately furnished to each team to stimulate a unique teaching and learning opportunity.
As the season progresses, rankings of the top 50% of individuals and teams are published to highlight achievement and to help members of the greater community measure their own effort and progress. Teams are matched first by skill so that the competition is even and then by common time availability so that teams can play live where possible. Data from the 2 qualifying rounds are used to determine bracket assignments. The top 64 teams are assigned to the Title bracket. Remaining teams are then evenly placed in additional brackets based on team size, with all teams competing in a bracket. Within each bracket, teams are sorted by skill and seeded accordingly, following NCAA March Madness protocol.
The two collaboration rounds are meant to be informal. They are the only rounds where students do not play individually. Instead, teachers are asked to divide their team into mini-teams of no less than 2 students, assigning 1 student to log in and input answers on behalf of the mini-team. The members of each mini-team are free to discuss each question together.
Those teams that are eliminated from a bracket can nonetheless extend their season by opting in to play against other similarly situated teams in weekly matches automatically arranged by the system. In addition, a teacher can separately challenge another team to a match or divide his/her team into multiple teams that play against each other. Content from the present season and past seasons is made available to fuel such additional competition activity. Thus, all teams are guaranteed 10 rounds of play with the flexibility to opt out as needed.
To participate, a teacher must (1) activate a free account (click here), (2) create a team once inside the account by clicking the "+Team" button, and then (3) register that team on the Events page, selecting "High", "Middle" or "Elementary" first depending on your team's level. A teacher can add as many students to the team as desired throughout the season, with each student assigned a separate account. Unique student ID information is not required nor does AreteLabs utilize student or teacher data in any way. Moreover, students are free to conceal their identity. Note that upon request we will push Math Madness question sets from years prior to a newly activated account so that a teacher can both review content appropriateness as well as create a live match for students to better determine potential interest in the core experience. See contact information below if interested.
Register by September 25th to be included in a practice round, by October 2nd to be included in the opening round. The period to register will remain open until October 30. Teams that register late simply miss the intervening rounds. Once registered, please review Math Madness in more detail by clicking "Math Madness" in the dropdown at the top/right of the account and then selecting the About tab. Note that while an email with an invoice attached to it will automatically be emailed to you upon registration, you may also download a copy of your invoice on your Events page. Payment by check is politely requested although a credit card purchase can be arranged if there is no alternative. Schools are given two months to pay which can be extended if necessary. In the pricing area below, a player is defined as an individual student who competes at least once during the event. Prices listed (scroll down) are for the entire team to play for the entire season. Price accommodation is available upon request and as needed. Please do not hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or call 312-952-0436. We are happy to walk teachers through the process as we are committed to providing exemplary customer support, at sign-up and during the entire season.
Thank you and welcome to Math Madness! . . .