It’s the fifth and final day of Bard Math CAMP. This morning opened with a special treat – the CAMPers finally got their Bard Math Circle t-shirts to wear! We got the Bitó Auditorium ready just in time for Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, to pop in and say a few words about the importance of mathematics (and the importance of learning in general), as well as to answer a few by-the-numbers questions about Bard.
- How many buildings are there at Bard? – Dr. Botstein says he hasn’t counted. However, this did lead into an interesting discussion about the amount of usable space in old buildings versus new buildings – estimating about 70% in RKC, with only about 40-50% in older buildings on campus.
- How many students are there? – If we’re going to be counting students, we first have to define what a student is. Somebody who spends 100% of their time studying is a full-time student, whereas someone who spends about 50% of their time is only 1/2 student (two of those equals one full-time student). In Annandale-on-Hudson, Bard College has about 1,800 undergraduates and 200 graduate students; in NYC, Bard has about 80 grad students and 1,000 early-college students; in other U.S. cities, we have 2,500 students; the Bard Prison Initiative has 300 students; and throughout the rest of the world, about 2,000 students. This sums up to an estimate of approximately 7,880 students.
- Why does Bard College have its own address? – Bard College comprises about 95% of the Village of Annandale, which is part of the Town of Red Hook. Annandale has its own zip code, 12504, and because of this it has its own federal mailroom (which is owned by the U.S. government). Since Bard College has its own zip code, it has its own address.
After that, the CAMPers headed to Math class – where COS worked on using the scaling factor (as well as various scientific calculators) to find the dimension of the Cantor Set. Next, they broke into groups to figure out the dimension of the Sierpinski Triangle and the Menger Sponge (a cube with a cube taken out from the middle, and so on with each of the smaller cubes of which it’s made).
Meanwhile, the SINE group used scientific calculators to find the area and perimeter of the Sierpinski Triangle at different stages. Then they used balls and sticks to build hypercubes (4-dimensional cubes), which they had heard about in the guest lecture on Wednesday.
After that, the SEC group made their way to CS class, where they finally found out the answer to a question that was probably always in the back of their minds: What really goes on inside a computer? Through a series of quests – Can you open the box? Can you find the “brain of the computer” (the CPU – Central Processing Unit)? How can you tell whether you’ve found it? What does the “motherboard” actually do? Can you find the Power Supply Unit (PSU), where the computer gets its power? Where is the Graphics Processing Unit? – CAMPers were introduced to the anatomy of a computer.
“Yeah, every computer has magic in it.” – Anish
After they finished their lunch at Kline, the CAMPers headed back to RKC for electives: continuing their speed-cubing workshop with Daniel Rose-Levine, learning to juggle, or helping to set up the photo booth for the upcoming afternoon open house.
In Art class, SEC made finished up their artwork (while singing along to Hamilton!) to show to their parents later in the day.
Before the end of CAMP, students had a chance to showcase their work and to give their parents a taste of all the amazing Math, Computer Science, puzzles, games, and Art they had been learning (or creating) all week.
(A Tip for Parents: If you want to get an insider’s perspective of the math your child has been learning at CAMP, be sure to check their notebook!)
This year’s CAMP was a math-stravaganza, with lots of laughs along the way. Our CAMPers have gotten a chance to learn the kind of math you don’t have in school – the kind that shows how important it is to ask the right questions (not just find the right answer), try things out (even if you’re not sure they’ll work), work together, and remember to just have fun! Today, the CAMPers will bring home their t-shirts, artwork, and notebooks brimming with mathematical knowledge – as well as a creative learning mindset that will stay with them forever.
Photo Credit: Japheth Wood (image 4, featured image), Alexi Safford (images 5-8), Kateri Doran (images 1-3, 9-41)