Math Field Day Events
Math Field Day is designed to stimulate interest in mathematics and to recognize mathematical ability and achievement among Michigan high school students. Any secondary school in Michigan is eligible to participate. Each school’s team consists of at most five students. The contestants may be in any grade, except that only freshmen and sophomores are eligible for Mad Hatter B. Each team must be accompanied by a faculty advisor to help proctor events.
THE TEAM: The team of five members consists of two students for the Leapfrog, one student for the Chalk Talk, one student for the Mad Hatter A, and one student (who must be a freshman or sophomore) for the Mad Hatter B competition. Teams with less than five members are welcome; they are subject to the same rules and are eligible for all awards. Each student may enter only one individual event. Each school may select its team as it wishes.
THE INDIVIDUAL EVENTS:
1. Chalk Talk. This event calls for the preparation and delivery of a clear, sound, and convincing mathematical discussion. Each student will present a five-minute chalkboard talk before a faculty judge. Each speaker will be questioned at the end of the talk. Notes may be used, if necessary, but the fewer notes the better. A memorized talk is neither required nor desired. Visual aids may be used if truly appropriate for a particular topic, but only as a supplement to the chalkboard presentation. Students will be judged on the presentation, mathematical content, chalkboard use, and response to questions. Penalties will be given for exceeding the five-minute time limit. Entrants should prepare a talk on one of two topics to be announced soon. A list of recommended references will be provided. There will be one winner in each of the assigned chalk talk rooms.
2. Leapfrog. This event calls for the ability to work with a partner to solve challenging mathematical problems. Problems will be chosen from all high school subjects in mathematics, and some will require original thinking. The two designated students from each team work together in one 50-minute session. A set of eight questions is provided. The team members decide how to organize their time and effort. They may communicate very quietly and should check each other's work. Problems are graded either right or wrong, with no partial credit given. To encourage proper checking, the score is twice the number of right answers minus the number of wrong answers, with blank answers not counted.
3. Mad Hatter A. This is a rapid computation and reasoning contest in which problems are shown on a screen. The student works the problem and writes the answer on an answer sheet. As soon as enough time has passed for about half the students to work the problem, the next problem is given. There are 40 problems. Mad Hatter B. This competition is similar to the Mad Hatter A but is open only to freshmen and sophomores.
THE TEAM EVENTS:
4. Swiss Game. Two teams are interleaved. Team members receive a list of paired values based on a secret rule, with some values missing. Members of the two teams alternate guesses of missing values, and teams receive points for correct guesses. There are four games.
5. Team Essay. The entire team works together to explore a mathematical topic, guided by a series of questions. At the end of forty minutes, the team turns in one answer to each question. Each answer is written in the form of an essay. Answers will be judged on mathematical content, grammar, and the style in which they are written.
6. Relays. Each team member is given a problem requiring for its complete solution the answer to another member’s problem. Answers are passed from one member to the next, with the anchor person handing answers to the team’s proctor. Only the answer handed in is considered, and points are awarded for correct answers based on the elapsed time. There are four relays.
7. Huddle. Each team is assigned a room with a blackboard and given ten minutes to solve four problems.
THE AWARDS: Awards are presented at the end of the day. Medals are given for individual events, and plaques are given for the Essay. Five books and a trophy for overall team performance are awarded to a Grand Champion team and nine other teams: first, second, and third place teams in three divisions based on school enrollment and draw. Corrected student papers and an overall scoresheet will be mailed to advisors the week after the competition.