Interstellar is the web application that makes Math Madness possible. It features live, team-based, online academic competition over multiple choice and open entry questions. With it, an educator can create a virtual team of students and then arrange competitions for that team by dividing it into multiple teams that compete with each other, or by inviting another team in the Interstellar Network to a match. We call this brand of competition Pick-Up Play. Alternatively, an educator can enter his/her team into a cycle of regularly occurring contests organized by Interstellar. We call this brand of competition League Play.

Math Madness is a League Play event which opens with leagues of round robin competition organized across the country based primarily on skill level, but with special consideration given to geography and common time availability. It concludes with a bracket challenge where all teams participate, separated into divisions based on skill level. Each round of both the league and bracket phases lasts one week (12:01am Sun-11:59pm Sat). The coach of a team chooses the time that his/her team competes during any given round. It can be changed at any time during a round, and from round to round. However, once the match begins at the chosen match time, it cannot be rescheduled. If two opposing coaches choose the same match time, then the teams play live with score updating in real time. In this case, students from the opposing teams are matched to each other as evenly as possible based on past performance. If a common time cannot be decided upon, each team competes at its preferred time and the final team score posts once both teams have competed. During the match, each student plays against his/her own personal best score. This is the equivalent of the student’s best performance to date. The individual-level competition described in these two scenarios is for motivational purposes only and does not affect a team's progression throughout the season, specifically during the bracket phase.

Each school/association may field one team which must have at least 5 members. Students may be added to a team at any point throughout the entire season. All the members of a team play at the same time, but individually; collaboration is not allowed (except during a designated collaboration round). Team score is determined by taking a simple average of the top 5 player scores for each team. As such, there are no scoring drawbacks, nor are there technical limitations, to fielding as large a team as there are interested players during ANY round in the entire Math Madness Tournament. In case of a tie, the top 5 player combination with the shorter average time to complete the match is adjudged the winner. Each match lasts 30 minutes and is fueled by a question set containing approximately 7 or 8 questions. A student receives a point for each question answered correctly.

A practice round where teams are randomly paired for a scrimmage will be held. This round will allow us to determine (a) if network filters are set in various schools that could disrupt competition events, which must then be modified or removed; (b) a skill level ordering on which to base the even formation of leagues; (c) each team’s likely preferred time to compete, which will be utilized in league formation to maximize the possibility that teams play live during the league phase. In addition, the practice round will give students and teachers a good opportunity to familiarize themselves with the application.

Rules/Tips

  1. A calculator (e.g., any of the TI line including the Nspire) is permitted during any competition event, as well as are pens, pencils, and empty scratch paper.
  2. Each student must have access to a single computer terminal with internet access. Desktops and laptops are strongly recommended as not all tablet models/sizes have been tested to date.
  3. Only one browser with one tab directed to the Interstellar website may be opened. No other computer programs may be opened or in use.
  4. Students are strongly encouraged NOT to use any early version of Internet Explore as images occasionally do not render in this browser. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are recommended.
  5. On rare occasions, time on the clock in the match arena may slow down (a browser phenomenon) or there may be network issues (poor connection speed) affecting the proper presentation of time. Regardless of the time that might remain on the clock, the application server automatically terminates each session when the precise moment for the conclusion of the match arrives. Students are therefore encouraged not to wait until the very last second on the time clock to submit their final answer.
  6. Students must compete together from a school location under coach supervision. Exceptions to this may be made upon request.
  7. All participants are respectfully asked to refrain from uploading or sharing offensive material, be it lewd, graphic, profane, or otherwise. Let’s keep this clean.
  8. At this time, only one coach can be assigned per team. Please feel free to share activated coach credentials where more than one coach is involved.
  9. Students must accept their invitation BEFORE the Match Time selected by the teacher arrives. Otherwise, they will not be able to play that round (technical requirement), although they will be set for future rounds once activated.
  10. While a coach may change the team’s Match Time, the team must not miss it once set. If this time comes and goes, the match cannot be rescheduled for that round.
  11. If student emails are being filtered by a school’s network, the teacher should have the tech admin whitelist IP address 192.254.125.176 (administrator@in-ter-stel-lar.com) and then re-send invitations. Alternatively, the teacher may wish to send to non-school email addresses (which have rarely been problematic). Always make sure students check their SPAM folder.
  12. For an "activated" student to play, all he/she needs to do is be logged in at the Match Time selected by the teacher. The questions will automatically be presented – there is no additional student or teacher action required. A late student may still participate, but allotted time will be diminished proportionally.
  13. Students can be added to a team throughout the season. Moreover, there is no need to rotate: any activated student who logs in at the Match Time, plays.
  14. Please be aware that the information presented here may change from time to time as we receive feedback from students and teachers.
  15. Please email all questions to tkelley@maa.org or timothy@in-ter-stel-lar.com but note that time will be scarce so kindly familiarize yourself thoroughly with this document and the application itself (there are numerous question mark symbols throughout the application pages that can provide additional information when clicked) before forwarding questions along.