Getting started with math modeling can be both puzzling and fun. Some students who have always succeeded in straightforward theoretical mathematics find it disconcerting when they’re not able to go directly into their math toolkit for answers, and instead must spend time defining the problem and its variables, making assumptions, researching, and brainstorming. It is by utilizing the modeling process together with the math they know that students are able to find a solution and then analyze and assess that solution.

If you want to take on real-world problems, but are having trouble thinking outside traditional math operations, the resources in this section will give you the skills and mathematical modeling savvy you need to gain insight and to pose *real* solutions. The freely available handbook *Math Modeling: Getting Started and Getting Solutions, *the instructive video series in math modeling, the sample problems and winning solution papers, and the tips for teams participating in the Challenge all provide a means for learning math modeling, either as a Challenge contestant, or simply as a motivated student with an interest in applied math.

## Why we do M^{3}