Math Day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

MATH DAY: ORIGINAL AND BRILLIANT Volunteer for Math Day 2019

Join us on Nov. 19, 2020

The 31st Nebraska Math Day will be Thursday, November 19, 2020, hosted by the Department of Mathematics on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus. More than 100 Nebraska high schools bring students for a day of fast-paced mathematics. Math Day is designed for students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 and for exceptional students in lower grades. Teachers who would like to bring students from lower grades must request and receive written permission from Nebraska Math Day. Homeschooled students are also welcome to attend but will need to contact us for a registration code. Contact us at

Thank you to the 93 schools and 1,247 students who participated in the 30th Math Day on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Click here to see results from Math Day 2019.

In 2014, the event celebrated its 25th anniversary and 1,506 students from 105 schools came to take the PROBE I exam. In 2013, we hosted 1,549 students from 109 Nebraska high schools, our highest record of students.

Math Day consists of one individual and two team mathematics competitions. All students participate in a multiple-choice, preliminary exam called PROBE I (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort). The top 40 students then move on to take the now famous essay exam called PROBE II. The PROBE top 10 Nebraska high school students (sum of PROBE I and II) are awarded a total of $34,000 in four-year scholarships to UNL.

Opening ceremony: As part of our celebration, the opening ceremony begins at 8 a.m. in the Nebraska Coliseum located at 14th and Vine streets, and it will truly be the beginning of an exciting, competitive day with plenty of room for all 1,500 (or so) of us. After the opening ceremony, students will walk to the Nebraska Union to take the PROBE I exam.

Pricing: For 2020, a Math Bowl Team of six students is a flat rate of $80. For 7 to 15 students, each student costs an additional $12. For 16 students and more, each student costs $10 each.

Map to New Bus/Van/Car Dropoff Location for Coliseum

Sponsors: The 2019 Math Day was pleased to have the support of sponsors Assurity Life Insurance Company and Mu Alpha Theta.

Math Day 2019 Poster

2019 Math Day Poster

Math Day's Purpose

  • stimulate interest in mathematics among Nebraska high school students,
  • encourage them to pursue mathematics or mathematics-based science as a career, and
  • recognize mathematical ability by awarding scholarships, certificates and trophies.


PROBE I and II: PROBE is the name of the individual competition. It is in two parts. The first part, PROBE I, is a one-hour, multiple-choice exam that is machine-graded. All participants are asked to enter this event. Plaques are awarded to the top five individuals on the PROBE I exam. The top 40 students are invited to enter the second part, PROBE II. PROBE II is a one-hour essay exam that emphasizes knowledge, depth of understanding and written expression. It is graded by faculty in the UNL Department of Mathematics. The PROBE top 10 high school students (sum of I and II) are awarded scholarships to UNL totaling $34,000 (scholarships are contingent upon students enrolling full time at Nebraska and declaring mathematics as one of their majors). All the questions assume only two years high school algebra and one year geometry. However, the answers to PROBE II questions require the creativity and originality that we expect from only the very best students. The PROBE Team Competition is based on the PROBE I exam. Schools are divided into the same six divisions as in the Math Bowl competition. In Classes I and II, the top five scores from each school are added to determine the winners, and in Class III, the top four scores, and in Classes IV, V and VI the top three scores. Plaques are awarded to the schools placing first and second in each division.

Math Bowl: Team Competition: The Math Bowl is a double-elimination tournament pitting three-member teams against each other. The team competitions are divided into six classes, according to school enrollment for grades 9 through 12, with trophies given to the top three teams in each.

Rules for Students

  1. No calculators allowed.
  2. Bring sharpened pencils with you - there are no pencil sharpeners available at Math Day.
  3. Academic dishonesty is a violation: It has been brought to our attention that some students have rearranged the order of the pre-set PROBE I exams on the tables so that students from the same school are working on the same version of the exam. This is considered academic dishonesty and will not be tolerated. If a student is caught switching an exam for this purpose, he or she will be removed from the testing area and escorted directly to their teacher/sponsor.
  4. Agreement of Expectations for students: The focus of this competition is exploring mathematics, and I will give my best effort to interact with the faculty and students who are volunteering their time to speak with me and to participate in the activities provided by UNL. For my safety, I will always be with at least one other member of the group and at least one teacher. I will treat my surroundings with the appropriate respect. I agree to follow the instructions and schedule established by Math Day. If at any time the UNL staff deems my behavior unacceptable, my teacher may be notified, and I may be asked to leave the event.

Guidelines for Teachers

  • Travel Support: We will provide some travel support for schools whose one-way trip is 150 miles or more, in lieu of covering the costs of hotel rooms. Blocks of rooms at two hotels have been set up at the Math Day rate for schools to call-in and make their reservations and arrange payment. More information about the travel support available can be found in the registration site.
  • Campus Tours: Short tours of the UNL City Campus and Avery Hall, home of the Department of Mathematics, will be available. Sign-up information will come after your registration is complete.
  • Parking: Parking permits are required for all cars, vans and buses that will be parking on the designated UNL parking grounds by the Devaney Sports Center in Lot 56 (aka Innovation Campus). Permits for cars and vans cost $7.00 per vehicle, while a permit for a bus costs $24.00 each. Cars are also welcome to park in the Stadium Drive Parking Garage at 10th and T streets for a maximum of $7 per day. No permit is required to park in the garage.

Questions from schools


Lindsay Augustyn
251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131


Registration will open after Labor Day

Questions from volunteers


Stephanie Vendetti
251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131


Volunteer Signup

UNL Faculty Adviser


Mikil Foss
Department of Mathematics
203 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130