Math Day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

February 18, 2025

three girls solving problem during math bowl

The 34th Nebraska Math Day was held on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, hosted by the Department of Mathematics. Math Day is now held on the third Tuesday of the month of February beginning in 2024. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2025!

Nebraska high schools are invited to join us for a day of engaging 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 invite students from lower grades to participate 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

Register Today

On your first visit the the SciMath Registration Portal, create and verify your account. Then navigate to "Upcoming Events".

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 50 students then move on to take the now famous essay exam called PROBE II. The PROBE top 25 Nebraska high school students (sum of PROBE I and II) are awarded a total of $41,500 in one- or four-year scholarships to UNL. First place is $8,000 over four years, second to fifth place is $4,000 over four years, and sixth to 10th place is $2000 over four years. Starting in fall 2022, students who place from 11th to 25th in the PROBE competition (sum of PROBE I and II) will each earn a $500 scholarship to UNL. This $500 award is a one-year scholarship, with $250 given each semester of their first year at UNL.

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.

Schedule: In 2024, PROBE I will be taken at individual schools on Jan. 24, in advance of the in-person event on campus on Feb. 20. Students will compete in the bowl team competition on Feb. 20 and any additional students who would like to attend hands-on activities can be registered by their teacher. PROBE II also is planned to occur on Feb. 20.

Pricing: There is no cost for students to take the PROBE I exam at their schools on Jan. 24. We will send a pdf file of Probe I to instructors 48 hours before students are scheduled to take it; the first page of this pdf will be an answer sheet. Instructors will scan students' answer sheets and email us pdfs of their scans within 48 hours of students taking the exam. If your school would like to participate in the bowl competition, the cost is $100, which covers lunches for up to 4 students and 2 teachers/chaperones. If you would like to bring more than 4 students, the registration fee is $10 per additional student and is currently capped at 6. These additional students will attend the hands-on activities during Math Day but they cannot be assigned to the bowl team roster. If you would like to request to bring more than 10 total students and 2 teachers or if your school cannot afford to print Probe I at school, please email us at

Bowl and Challenge Activities: Bowl teams will be entered on a first-come, first-served basis in each of the four classes until we reach 20 teams in each class. Each school will be allowed one bowl team. If we cannot fill the 80 slots, we will contact schools about entering a second team. Each bowl team will be guaranteed five rounds on Math Day. Students who are not competing as one of the three bowl team members during each round can participate in challenges and other activities during the day.


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 to 50 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 25 high school students (sum of I and II) are awarded scholarships to UNL totaling $41,500 (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.

Math Bowl Team Competition: The Math Bowl is a Swiss-system tournament similar to bridge and chess. Each team is guaranteed to play five rounds. There have been two classes in recent events (since 2020) Competitive and Recreational, but at least one additional class will be added in 2024. Trophies are given to the top 4 teams in each class.

Rules for Students

  1. No calculators allowed.
  2. 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.
  • Hotel Rooms: Blocks of rooms at three hotels have been set up at the Math Day rate for schools to call-in and make their reservations and arrange payment. All room blocks are saved under UNL Math.

    Country Inn & Suites, Lincoln North

    5353 North 27th Street Lincoln, NE 68521
    $94 per night for 2 queens
    $89 per night for one king
    Release Date: Jan. 20

    Fairfield Inn & Suites, Lincoln

    4221 Industrial Avenue Lincoln, NE 68504
    319-899-1871 (ask for Teresa Blythe)
    $107 per night for two queens or one king
    Release Date: Jan. 20

    Comfort Suites University, Lincoln

    4231 Industrial Ave Lincoln, NE 68504
    $100.39 per night for two queens
    $97.71 per night for one king
    Release date: Jan. 20

  • Campus Tours: Short tours of the UNL City Campus and the new Engineering Building, is tentatively available. It will based on interest and availability of tour guides.
  • 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

Contact: Lindsay Augustyn

251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130


Registration is now open

Questions from Volunteers

Contact: Greta Prochnow

208 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131


Volunteer Signup

UNL Faculty Adviser

Contact: Levi Heath

Department of Mathematics
225 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130