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MaPP HSC17 Call for Puzzle Designers

MaPP High School Challenge '17

Thank you for your interest in designing a puzzle for Mathematical Puzzle Program's (MaPP) High School Challenge '17 (HSC17)! We provide our mathematical puzzlehunt competition materials to campuses across the country without cost as part of our mission of promoting the fun of mathematical problem solving. Your contributions are what make this possible.

Please read this short document outlining what we need from our volunteer designers.

Event overview

HSC17 will run at multiple college campuses across the country throughout the 2016-17 school year (September 2016 to May 2017). As such, we need commitments from our designers by Friday, 2016 June 17 and a playtest-ready version submitted by Friday, 2017 July 15. Materials should be kept secret until the final event runs in April 2017, after which you are welcome to host your contribution on your own site or use it in another context (see Licensing below). We will schedule a Google Hangout or phone call to discuss details before you're officially committed.

Puzzle specifications

We are primarily seeking variable-scoring mathematical puzzles. Examples of these can be found in the HSC16 puzzle booklet, listed as "EXTRA Puzzles". Within the game, the team(s) earning the highest score on each EXTRA Puzzle compared to all other teams at their campus will earn a fixed number of victory points.

Players are 9th-12th graders. As such, we require that your puzzles assume nothing beyond basic algebra and geometry, and prefer puzzles that do not give a distinct advantage to students with knowledge of advanced high school algebra or calculus.

We do not have a fixed definition of what makes a puzzle "mathematical". The goal of these puzzles are to reward problem-solving skills and mathematical modeling of abstract problems. If your puzzle has a connection to a mathematical field (e.g. number theory, topology, etc.) all the better, but such connections should generally not be required or made explicit.

Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Prior knowledge such as trivia or wordplay (unless it's from a limited and provided vocabulary).
  • Cryptic elements. All aspects of these puzzles should be well-defined.
  • Randomness.

We will design a simple puzzle which decodes to a message based upon the theme of your puzzle. If you'd also like to design this puzzle yourself, let us know!

Licensing and Credits

MaPP supports free culture and open source. After the final HSC17 competition is run, we will release all materials under This allows teachers and other mathematical puzzle enthusiasts the freedom to reuse MaPP materials in any setting, provided they give proper attribution to us (and by extension, you). In order that we may do so, we require that intellectual rights to all contributions by volunteers be first transferred to MaPP, or licensed by the volunteer himself/herself under

We are mathematicians and puzzle designers ourselves, and we value your contributions highly. As such, we will credit you on our website and in the released materials. We will also send a small token of our appreciation to our HSC17 puzzle designers thanking you for your volunteer efforts.

In short

  • Puzzles should be variable-scoring mathematical puzzles appropriate for 9-12th grade students.
  • Commit to designing a puzzle by submitting your puzzle concept by Friday, 2016 June 17. We will schedule a Google Hangout or phone call to discuss details before committing.
  • Submit a playtest-ready version by Friday, 2016 July 15.
  • Contributed materials must be kept secret until the last High School Challenge '17 competition (no later than May 2017).
  • All rights to contributed materials must either be released to MaPP, or licensed under
  • After the final HSC17, the events' puzzle booklet will be released on our website under
  • We will credit your contributions on our website and in all HSC17 materials, and give you a small token of our appreciation.
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