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The IM²C is an international modelling competition involving teams of secondary students from a number of countries. The IM²C poses a number of real-world mathematical scenarios, and each team works for several days using freely available material (from the web and other sources). At the end of this time, each team presents a report on their solution. The challenge awards prizes to the top teams. The challenge has two levels: a national and an international level. On the basis of the results of the national competitions, teams will be invited to enter the international level.

The main aim of the IM²C is to promote mathematical modelling, encouraging participants to explore the application of mathematics in real situations to solve problems of importance. Encouraging an extension of experience in mathematical modelling for students in secondary schools, the IM²C seeks to develop and enhance students’ ability to visualise, understand and apply mathematics in real-world contexts, providing a valuable opportunity for the practical demonstration of in-school learning and application of theory.

Real-world problems require a mix of different kinds of mathematics for their analysis and solution, and take time and teamwork. The IM²C provides students with a deeper experience both of how mathematics can explain our world and what working with mathematics looks like.

Difficult problems in society are almost always tackled by groups of people with different areas of expertise. By mobilising students in teams, the IM²C replicates real-world conditions; requiring collaboration and contribution from different skill sets, perspectives and methodologies to achieve overall success.

Providing an opportunity for peer-based learning, this aspect of the IM²C also helps to incorporate and reinforce the Australian Curriculum proficiency strands – understanding, fluency, problem-solving and reasoning – as students work together, communicate with one another and employ creativity, reason and logic to successfully solve the defined problem.

International IM²C

Each year, participating countries are invited to choose up to two teams of up to four students with one teacher/faculty advisor. The contest will begin in mid-March and end in early May. During that time teams choose five (5) consecutive days to work together on the problem. All solutions must be sent in by the faculty advisor, who must certify that the students followed the rules of the contest. 

Papers are judged in early June by the international expert panel and winners announced by late June. Papers will be designated as Outstanding, Meritorious, Honorable Mention, and Successful Participant with appropriate plaques and certificates given in the name of students, their faculty advisor and their schools.

In the coming years, the IM²C, inspired by other major international contests, will consist of two rounds of competition. In the first round, national teams will work on a common problem and submit their solutions to an expert panel. Then there will be a second round hosted each year by a different country, in which the national teams present their solutions in person and engage in additional modelling experiences together.