Math Bowl Rules

Description: The PACE Math Bowl is an annual team competition testing the contestants’ ability to do high school level mathematics quickly and efficiently. At each stage, contestants from two opposing teams race to solve a problem posed to them. The winner earns points for his or her team.
Participants: Each team is made up of four or five students at various math levels. The pool of contestants is divided into teams so as to provide an even distribution among teams of students at each of the five subject levels. These levels are Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Trigonometry, and Precalculus. Calculus students will do Precalculus problems. The team is led by a staff “coach”. Presiding over each match is a staff Moderator. The moderator is assisted by a staff Scorer/Timekeeper.
Match Play:

Two teams face each other in a match. When possible, each contestant on a team is matched against a contestant from the opposing team who is taking the same subject (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, or Precalculus). These matched contestants race to solve problems in their math subject. When a contestant cannot be matched with an someone taking the same subject, he or she will be matched against an another contestant. In that case, the opposing contestants will race to solve a “general” problem.

Each match consists of two rounds. During each round, each pair of contestants is given a problem to solve. The problem is projected onto the blackboard and the contestants try to solve the problem simultaneously. The contestant that first gets a correct answer earns points for his or her team. If neither contestant get the answer within the allotted time, no points are awarded.

There are three levels of problems: Level 1, 2 and 3. One minute is allotted for Level 1 problems. They are worth one point each. Two minutes are allotted for Level 2 problems, which are worth two points. Level 3 problems are allotted three minutes. They are worth 3 points.

When a contestant has an answer he or she must circle the answer and say “Done.” The moderator will immediately indicate whether or not the answer is correct. If the answer is incorrect, the contestant may try again to get the correct answer.

Conduct: Neither the coach nor any teammates may help a contestant in any way with a problem. They may only cheer the problem-solver on. If a team or coach blatantly and significantly helps a problem-solver, the moderator may (at his or her discretion) disqualify the problem-solver from the current problem and allow the opposing contestant to continue until the time limit is up.

The moderator has the final say on the disposition of a dispute. A dispute may involve the following contentions:

  • a problem is ambiguous or misleading or the given answer is incorrect.
  • the opposing team was too helpful.
  • insufficient or too much time was allowed for a question.
  • the score is incorrect.

The moderator may make use of the following remedies or procedures:

  • Throw out the current question and use a substitute.
  • Throw out the current question and move on to the next pair of contestants.
  • Deduct points that weren’t earned.
  • Allow additional time to solve the problem.
  • Call a timeout. Have the timekeeper stop the clock; have the problem-solvers stop working on the current problem and turn away from the board. During a timeout the moderator may resolve any disputes and, if appropriate, resume work on the problem.

Moderator - Administer questions. Award points for correct answers. Settle disputes. The moderator is the final authority on issues involved in a match.

Scorekeeper/Timekeeper - Keep the score. Keep time for each question. Warn the moderator when the overall match time limit is being approached. Help the moderator determine which problem solver finished first.

Coach - Provide team identity. Maintain the team scoresheet. Act as a point of contact for the team for information about team standing and location of subsequent matches. Act as a cheerleader. Help with timekeeping and scorekeeping if no Scorekeeper/Timekeeper is available.

Tournament Play: The Math Bowl consists of either four round robin matches followed by the finals or three round robin matches followed by semi-finals and finals. The format will depend on the number of teams.

Participation in the playoffs (semi-finals or finals) will be determined based on the following criteria in order:

  • Won-Lost record or (in case of a tie)
  • Head to Head competition (outcome of the match between tied teams) or
  • Won-Lost record against common opponents (if above did not break the tie)
Sample Problems:

The following are links to problems of the type you will see on the Math Bowl:

Problems will be provided.