Lehigh Valley American Regions Math League team

The trip to the ARML contest

We will travel to Penn State on Friday May 30, 2014, in buses chartered through Lehigh University, driven by professional bus drivers. We will meet at Lehigh University at 12:30. Sometimes students need to make other travel arrangements, for example, if they have a Friday afternoon or Saturday evening activity. We highly prefer that students go with the team, but they can drive (or be driven) late Friday or (very!) early Saturday, or can come with the team but have parents meet them at Penn State for a 3:00 departure on Saturday, if necessary.

Team members and coaches stay in a dormitory at Penn State, with two people in each room. There are separate dormitories for boys and girls. We arrive at Penn State about 4:30 Friday afternoon. After registering, students go to their rooms to get rid of their belongings, and then the entire team and coaches will meet and walk downtown together and then break up into groups to go to dinner, which is in any of the many student-oriented restaurants along the street which adjoins Penn State's campus. It is more than a 1/2 mile walk from the dorm to these restaurants. There are hundreds of ARML participants going to these restaurants that evening. An ARML team member will need perhaps $5 for this dinner and $5 for a traditional stop for fast food on the way home.

After dinner, ARML students go back to the dorm and usually play cards or frisbee. There is also a math lecture at 8:00, which many of our team members have enjoyed in the past. Another activity is the ARML Song Contest, which takes place at 9:30 PM Friday. Teams will have prepared songs about ARML or Math, usually to the tune of some pop song. The Lehigh Valley entry won the Song Contest in 2010 and 2011. You can view both. Jillian is organizing this year's effort, with rehearsals 15 minutes prior to each ARML practice.

We require that our students be in their own rooms, quiet with lights out, by 11:00. It is imperative that students obey the 11:00 curfew. Students should be well aware of the importance of a good night's sleep.

Breakfast Saturday is in a huge dining hall adjacent to the dorms. It is served from approximately 6:10 to 7:20. We all wear our LV ARML T-shirts and sit together at breakfast. Coaches will make sure that all students have gone to breakfast by about 6:50. The contest begins at 8:00 in a building about a 1/2 mile walk from the dorm. We gather outside the dorm about 7:30 to walk to our contest building. Each team of 15 will work the Team Questions and Power Questions together in their classroom, with a proctor waiting outside the room, giving them their materials and keeping time for them. The Team Questions require 20 minutes and the Power Questions 60 minutes. Each team will have a Captain, whose responsibility it is to make sure that all questions are answered.

After the Team and Power questions, all students go to the huge Bryce-Jordan Center for the Individual Questions. There are five rounds of two questions each, with 10 minutes for a round. The correct answers are announced after each round, and after the last two rounds it is very exciting to see if any LV team members are among the handful of people who say they have answered all questions correctly (or all but one). Then comes the lunch break. Last year, box lunches were provided at Bryce-Jordan. It is likely that lunch will be done that way again, rather than everyone rushing back to the huge dining hall. The breakfast and lunch costs are covered by the room and board fee that is covered by our sponsor, the Martinos.

After lunch, we go back to Bryce-Jordan Center for the last round, the Relays. Each 15-person team is divided into five groups of three. Each group of three does the same thing. The first person has a question to answer and the second and third have questions which say something like "Let x=TNYWR. Perform some tricky calculation depending on x." TNYWR means "The number you will receive." They should be thinking about how to work their problems before they receive x, which is passed from the previous person. Only the third person's answer counts. You have six minutes to do it, and get double credit if you can do it in three minutes. There are two rounds of this. This is what won us the national championships in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

After the relays, we wait for at least an hour for the grading to be finished. There is a SuperRelay of 15 people, which doesn't count in the scoring. Sometimes the winning Song Contest entry performs during this break. And there are the Tie Breaker questions for the individual championship. Students who got all 10 right (and usually also those who got 9) go to the front of the room to see who can be the first to hand in a correct answer to a question which is placed on a screen for everyone to see. The same thing is happening simultaneously in Georgia, Iowa and Las Vegas.

Finally they announce the winners, and then we pick up a packet with the results, go back to the dorm, pack up, load up the bus, and ride back to Lehigh, with a stop for fast food along the way. We arrive home about 9:30 PM. Students use cell phones to call their parents to let them know exactly what time we expect to arrive.

What do students need to take to ARML? Several sharp pencils, perhaps some blank paper to use as scrap paper (the amount provided there is often inadequate), a pillow and blanket, which they do not provide (they do provide sheets), towel and other bath items, and $10-15 for the two evening meals. A rain jacket is often worthwhile, because it seems that there is often cold rain there, and long walks are obligatory.

Students' parents must fill out a permission slip which must be returned to Don Davis by May 25. See also the letter to parents.

More information about Lehigh Valley ARML team