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Face Off is a mathematics quiz show with questions from the broad realm of mathematics.  And we do mean broad! Teams of 2-4 students representing their schools compete to answer these questions. Any undergraduate who has taken or is enrolled in Calculus I is eligible to join a Face Off team.  



Face Off comes complete with computer animation, a game board, and a theme song composed by Dr. Grady Bullington. The game is played in three rounds:


  • First Face Off Round
    4 questions in each of 4 categories, with questions worth 10 to 40 points apiece

  • Two-Faced Round
    4 questions in each of 4 categories again, but point values are doubled

  • Final Face Off
    Every team gets one final chance to earn points by solving a longer problem.


Face Off Axioms

  • Each team plays as a famous mathematician.For example, your team could play as Descartes, Gauss, Hilbert, Noether, or Newton.

  • A team "slams in" to answer a question. We have a combination buzzer/scoring system purchased from Slammer Systems.  There's never a question about which team slams in first!  We appreciate the support from the UW-Oshkosh Mathematics Department in helping us obtain this great piece of equipment.

  • The first team to "slam in" is called on for an answer and receives points if it's correct.

  • Points are not deducted for wrong answers, but a team may respond only once. 

  • After an answer is declared wrong the other teams can slam in.

  • Answers must be exact and simplified.

  • The judge's decision is final. 



Sample Questions

Here are some game boards and questions from past shows:

First Round Second Round


"Base"-ic Math:

10 pts. What is the exact value of log9(1/3)?
20 pts. The base of an isosceles triangle is 10 cm and each of the base angles is 37 . How long is one of the congruent sides to the nearest 0.01 cm? 
30 pts. Simei refuses to write her numbers in base 10. When everyone else writes the number 184, she writes the number 352. What base does Simei use?
40 pts. How many vectors are in a basis for the linear subspace of R4 defined by the equations {2x+3y+4z-w=0, 4x+2y+3z=0, 4y+5z-2w=0}


Fear Factor:

20 pts.   Find the factor z (in a+bi form) so that 5+5i = (1+3i)z.
40 pts. What is the 2007th letter in the infinite sequence "MAAEAUCLAIREMAAEAUCLAIREMAA "?
60 pts. I played a Jeopardy -style game where there were $12 questions and $21 questions. For each of my responses, I either won or lost the face value of the question. I finished the game with the smallest possible positive dollar amount. How much did I win?
80 pts. The ages of Jim, his dad and his grandfather have the interesting property that the product of any two is divisible by the third. Jim is 15 and his dad is 54. How old is his grandfather?



Final Face Off


Upcoming and Recent Shows  

Place Date
Pi Mu Epsilon Regional Math Conference at St. Norbert College November 4, 2022
Tentative: MAA-Wisconsin Section meeting
at UW-Stout
April 28-29, 2023

Past Shows

Face Off Organizers

Please contact Dr. Steve Szydlik (szydliks@uwosh.edu) for more information.  If a school doesn't have enough interested students, contact the organizers anyway - we can combine interested students to from hybrid teams.  Space will be limited, so form a team soon and let us know of your interest!

We are always interested in expanding our program.  Let us know if you are interested in having a show at your school.