Sample Problems

The Moody's Mega Math Challenge problem is an open-ended, applied math modeling problem focused on a real-world issue. The purpose of the Challenge, in addition to being a contest for bright and creative minds, is to elevate high school students' enthusiasm and excitement for using mathematics to solve real-world problems and to increase students' interests in pursuing math-related studies and careers. Moody's and SIAM are interested in improving the pipeline of young people going into applied mathematics, finance, and economics (among other subjects) and encourage students to participate in this contest as an educational process.

Provided here are several examples of the type of problem you may be asked to solve on your M3 Challenge day.

It is highly recommended that participants read and work through some problems at each level before moving on.

Level 1:

Modeling Scenarios [14K PDF]

This list is intended to give students a taste of some of the scenarios that may be presented as modeling problems in the M3 Challenge. This can be considered basic training material, designed to prompt targeted brainstorming.

List provided courtesy of William P. Fox, Department of Mathematics, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC.

Level 2: AIM Resource Books

Students:

A Backwater Curve for the Windsor Locks Canal [1.09MB PDF]

Budgeting Time and Money [382K PDF]

Pricing Auto Insurance [466K PDF]

Volcanic Eruption Fallout [560K PDF]

Teachers:

A Backwater Curve for the Windsor Locks Canal [1.73MB PDF]

Budgeting Time and Money [1.8MB PDF]

Pricing Auto Insurance [1.7MB PDF]

Volcanic Eruption Fallout [1.5MB PDF]

These booklets detail modeling problems that remain relevant today, despite being somewhat dated in appearance. These examples also have considerable background data, which gives insight into the types of details that need to be considered when solving the Challenge problem. Remember that creativity and originality are highly valued characteristics of a winning solution—along with good quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Used with the permission of the Mathematical Association of America.

Level 3: M3 Challenge Archives: Outstanding Solution Papers

MChallenge 2014 Problem [317K PDF]

Please note that the papers posted here are the solutions of the top six finishing teams in the 2013 M3 Challenge. The students completed these papers within the 14-hour time period allowed for the contest and were selected by the judges to receive an award.

M3 Challenge Champions (Summa Cum Laude Team Prize) [650K PDF]

M3 Challenge Runner Up (Magna Cum Laude Team Prize) [710K PDF]

MChallenge Third Place (Cum Laude Team Prize) [990K PDF]

MChallenge Fourth Place (Meritorious Team Prize) [690K PDF]

MChallenge Fifth Place (Exemplary Team Prize) [300K PDF]

MChallenge Sixth Place (First Honorable Mention Team Prize) [290K PDF]

past problems

Go to the M3 Challenge archive to see the:

2013 Problem [317K PDF]

2012 Problem [244K PDF]

2011 Problem [273K PDF]

2010 Problem [60K PDF]

2009 Problem [103K PDF]

2008 Problem [258K PDF]

2007 Problem [258K PDF]

2006 Problem [203K PDF]

and their solutions.

Additional Resources

Teacher-Coach Guides

Teacher guides for the Challenges can be found in those year's archive Challenge Flyers & Docs section and may not be reflective of current Challenge parameters.