M3 Challenge 2021 and COVID-19

M3 Challenge 2021 and COVID-19

M3 Challenge is, and always has been, a virtual contest. No in-person contact is necessary to register or participate.

November 20, 2020

As teachers and students begin to assemble and register for M3 Challenge 2021, you may be wondering how COVID-19 might impact this year’s contest. Fortunately, M3 Challenge is, and always has been, a virtual contest. Teams should not be deterred from registering due to COVID-19 concerns. M3 Challenge is an extracurricular activity that you can be sure will happen, regardless of what’s going on with the coronavirus pandemic in the coming months! All aspects of the contest are online, so participating completely virtually is 100% feasible.

A few reminders to allay your concerns:

  • All aspects of the contest –registration, access to resource materials and optional software licenses, contest information and communication, and the contest itself – are online. No in-person contact is necessary.
  • Teachers have never been required to be with their teams during Challenge work time–that is a decision made by individual teams and schools.
  • While most teams have gotten together in person to work on the Challenge problem in the past, many teams over the years have worked in a distributed way, separated across many homes using Google docs, Zoom, FaceTime, and other networking tools.
  • Working together remotely, adds yet another layer of authenticity to the already very real-life experience that M3 Challenge provides, including having just 14 hours to brainstorm, devise solutions, and provide insights into a problem that was previously unknown.

We are still hopeful that we will be able to have an in-person final event for the top teams in late April in New York City, but like everyone, we will continue to assess and evaluate the news and world situation daily, and we will have an alternate plan in place if an in-person event is not safe or possible. Like last year, when COVID-19 derailed the final event, we will find creative ways to honor and acknowledge the students and coaches who enthusiastically participate in M3 Challenge.

M3 Challenge supports careful observations of the protocols of every school, as well as local, regional, and national mandates and guidelines. We believe the structure of the M3 Challenge contest is flexible enough for everyone to safely participate.

We look forward to a terrific Challenge in 2021!

MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge
A program of Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

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