SMS scnews item created by Gareth White at Wed 24 Sep 2008 1508
Type: Seminar
Modified: Wed 24 Sep 2008 1535
Distribution: World
Expiry: 8 Oct 2008
Calendar1: 8 Oct 2008 1300-1400
CalLoc1: Carslaw 275
CalTitle1: SUMS -- Maths Relay

SUMS -- Maths Relay (Enter to win prizes!)

Hello everyone, 

SUMS will be holding a Maths Relay on Wednesday, October 8 (that is the first week back
from the mid-semester break).  It will be held in Carslaw Lecture Theatre 275 from

Most of the rest of this notice is regarding how the relay will be run.  The details can
be subject to change if there is enough demand (if their is something that you would
like changed, please tell me).  A maths relay is pretty simple, so don’t be daunted by
my long explanations, most of the rules are pretty intuitive.  

BASICS - The relay is a team competition, with teams of 3 competing.  - When the relay
begins, a member of each team will go to the marker and collect a question on a sheet of
paper, which they then take back to their team.  They then attempt to work out the
answer to their question.  - When a team thinks they have an answer, they will write
their answer on the sheet of paper, then go to the marker to have their answer checked.
- If the answer is right, the marker will give them the next question, which they then
attempt to solve, etc.  - If the answer is wrong, the team can attempt the question
again, or pass.  If they pass, the marker takes that question and gives them the next


- If a team gets a question wrong and wishes to make another attempt, the team member
must return to their team’s location and write in the new answer, before returning to
the marker.  They cannot simply stand next to the marker and write down a new answer.  -
Answers must be written on the sheet of paper containing the question, and must be
easily visible and readable to the marker.  Anything else written on the paper (e.g.
old answers that were marked wrong) must be scribbled out, so it is obvious to the
marker what your "current" answer is.  - If a team passes a question, they cannot return
to it and attempt it later on.  - No calculators or textbooks, reference materials etc.
are allowed.  - Teams may use their own paper for working out.  Do not do your working
on the question sheet.  


- The questions will be of a problem-solving nature, similar to the questions you would
get in those multiple-choice maths competitions that you may have done in high school.
Think of the SUMS Problem Competition, only MUCH easier.  - Each question will have a
simple, concise answer (usually, but not necessarily, a number).  None of the questions
will ask you to prove anything.  Working will not be considered, only the answer.  It
will always be clear what the question is asking you to do.  - Although the questions
will not strictly be ordered in terms of difficulty, they will tend to get harder as the
questions progress.  That is, the first few questions will be easier, while the last few
questions will be very tricky.  - Every team will get the same set of questions in the
same order.  Thus it is advised that teams do not discuss their questions too loudly, or
verbally announce their answer to the marker.  - Their will be at least 15 questions.
It will be set such that it is unlikely that a team will get through all the questions
in time.  Therefore, each team will always be working on a questions (unless they are
getting their answer checked).  


- The first 5 questions are worth 5 marks, the next 5 questions are worth 10 marks, the
next 5 questions are worth 15 marks.  This system may change slightly, but each question
will be worth the same number of marks or more marks than the previous question.  -
Wrong answers will not be penalised, nor will passing on a question.  However, if you
pass a question, you will not get the marks for that question and you cannot attempt
that question again.  - I do not intend to have any penalties for this relay.  However,
obviously if I see any behaviour that I consider to be against the spirit of the relay
(e.g.  interfering other teams, using calculators, bribes, stabbing the marker in the
eye while delivering an uppercut to a rival team member, etc.), then I will penalise
those teams accordingly.  


- There will be prizes.  - If I have missed any details or make any corrections, I will
mention them in a future notice.  

HOW TO PARTICIPATE - If you want to participate, simply find 2 friends and contact me at  - When you have a team, please email me telling me the name
of your team, and your team members.  - You cannot be in more than 1 team.  - That is
the best way of participating in this relay.  However, if you would like to participate
but cannot find 2 other people, please still notify me telling me that you wish to do
the relay, and I will put you in a team.  - Please try to email me as soon as possible
after you form your team.  If you intend to participate, you must notify me before the
day of the relay (so October 7 or earlier), as I will almost certainly not have enough
time to accommodate teams that turn up on the day without prior notice.  - As I
mentioned in that last point, time is important here.  We will only have the lecture
theatre from 1-2pm (there are classes immediately before and after).  As I would like to
devote as much time as possible to the actual relay, I ask that you try your best to
turn up as close to 1pm as possible.  If some of your team members are a little late, do
not worry, it shouldn’t make much of a difference.  

If you have any questions or want me to clarify anything, please email me at 


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