What’s The Big Idea?


An eventful challenge where mathematicians take center stage to give 7-minute presentations of REALLY BIG IDEAS in mathematics. But there is a catch! Their judges are a panel of Youth Judges!

Hopeful Contributions

Featured mathematicians in the What’s The Big Idea Math Challenge will play a crucial role in our efforts to create a space where the experiences of mathematicians and mathematics learners of color are at the center. We know that they will demonstrate their passion for math and help shatter some of the perceptions of math being confusing and hard. Finally, we hope this challenge calls attention to culturally responsive, grounding, and sustaining approaches to engage young people with mathematics.

Featured Mathematicians

Every year, we invited a collection of mathematicians of color: graduate students, academics/professors, and K-12 educators.

Youth Judges

A panel of student judges. There are 3 categories of student judges: middle school students, high school students, and undergraduate students. In each round, the panel of judges will listen to each mathematician and judge them based on the criteria outlined in the Voting Criteria section.

Big Idea Selection

Math Literacy Workers at YPP lead an intergenerational committee that curates a collection of big ideas within the discipline of mathematics.

Voting Criteria 

Youth Judges and event audience will vote on a scale of 1 through 4. The questions they will be voting on are: 

1. Was the Math Topic clear to you?
2. Did you understand the words used in this presentation?
3. How much did you enjoy the visuals used in the presentation?
4. Did this presentation pique your curiosity?