# CAMP 2024 Day 1

Welcome back to another exciting year of the Bard Math CAMP! This year, CAMPers are going to be learning about polygons, which are any closed shapes consisting of a set of line segments that are connected!

The excitement was palpable as families and CAMPers arrived for the first day of Math CAMP! Each CAMPer had the opportunity to select their elective for the day, with options including Paper Puzzles, Intro to Circuits, or a hike to Bard’s Zabriskie’s Waterfall.

After a warm welcome and some initial games, such as Spot It! and Mason’s Math Challenge, the kids were escorted to their first classes of the day, eagerly anticipating the adventures ahead.

Japheth’s Cosine Group kicked things off with a Polygon Challenge, where the task was to place four points on a plane so that there were only two distinct distances between any two points. Japheth demonstrated this with an example of four points at the corners of a square.

The students worked in groups and discovered three examples of special polygons that met the criteria. This activity introduced the concept of casework, where they broke the problem down into smaller, more manageable parts. Japheth explained that in their example, if X is one length and Y is the other, the square configuration had four X lengths and two Y lengths.

Next, the CAMPers tackled a new challenge: investigating the case of 3 X lengths and 3 Y lengths. They worked collaboratively to explore this scenario, successfully finding one configuration. However, a question lingered: were there more configurations to be discovered? This encouraged further exploration and critical thinking among the CAMPers, while “solemnly swearing not to look up the answer!” This fun promise added an element of challenge and camaraderie. They also began exploring the degrees of angles in various polygons, setting the stage for deeper mathematical thinking.

Meanwhile, Frances’ Sine Group focused on defining polygons. The CAMPers learned about what constitutes a polygon and the characteristics of regular polygons and congruent shapes. They delved into the world of tessellations, which are patterns made by repeating a regular polygon, using triangles to create beautiful, repeating patterns.  After finishing up, the CAMPers were able to walk around and admire each others work before the second class session began.

After the math classes ended, the Cosine and Sine groups split up into Cosecant and Secant groups, where the former went to Art class, while the latter went to Computer Science class!

Throughout the day, Cosecant and Secant CAMPers explored their creative side in Shoshi’s Art Class by making ninja stars, origami birds, and hexaflexagons. Hexaflexagons are fascinating flat models, usually constructed by folding strips of paper, that can be flexed or folded in certain ways to reveal faces besides the two that were originally on the back and front. This hands-on activity demonstrated the real-world application of geometry and symmetry and helped reinforce mathematical principles in a fun and engaging way!

Secant CAMPers, in their Computer Science class with Yulia (or rather, Robot Yulia!), learned about computer algorithms. Each group wrote instructions for “Robot Yulia” to follow in order for her to draw a square on the whiteboard. Despite their efforts, no group was able to have Robot Yulia successfully draw a square. This experience led to an important lesson on the necessity of specificity in algorithms, highlighting how crucial it is to provide clear, detailed instructions in computer programming.

“Why do you like trick questions so much?”

“They make you ponder!” – Yulia

Everyone enjoyed a delicious and bountiful lunch, recharging their energy for the afternoon’s activities!

After lunch, it was time for the eagerly awaited electives. In the Intro to Circuits class, CAMPers formed groups to create magnetic circuits, gaining a hands-on understanding of how circuits work and what is needed to make them function. The Paper Puzzles elective offered a stimulating session with Sudoku and Tuno Touch puzzles, challenging the kids’ logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Meanwhile, those who chose the hike enjoyed the natural beauty of Bard’s Zabriskie’s Waterfall, a perfect way to combine physical activity with the day’s learning.

Both Cosecant and Secant learned about the inner workings of Net Logo, which is a programmable modeling application that simulates different inputted scenarios, creating turtles in their respective “driver/navigator” dynamics. They learned how to make the turtles move around, teleport, draw, and change directions. This activity also included exploring the boundaries and size of their world, providing a hands-on understanding of programming logic and spatial awareness.

As the day drew to a close, CAMPers filed into the Art classroom for some final activities. They engaged in more exciting games, tackled another Math Challenge presented by Mason, and enjoyed the opportunity to unwind and socialize with their new friends. This relaxed yet stimulating environment allowed CAMPers to reflect on their day’s adventures and solidify the concepts they had learned.

While they eagerly awaited pickup from their parents, the room buzzed with chatter and laughter, a testament to the fun and enriching experiences of their first day at Math CAMP.