## CAMP 2024 Day 3

Welcome back to another day at the Bard Math CAMP!

As the day began, CAMPers once again dove into a variety of opening activities, such as games that tested their strategic thinking and teamwork skills, another intriguing Math Challenge presented by Mason, and continuing their art projects from previous classes, refining their designs and adding creative touches to their works. This combination of activities set a dynamic tone for the rest of the day.

Japheth kicked off the day with his Cosine Math Class by reviewing concepts from the previous session. Japheth emphasized the power of simplifying complex problems using algebraic equations, making seemingly difficult tasks much easier. CAMPers then worked in groups to explain to each other how to find the degrees of polygons using these equations, ensuring everyone understood before moving on.

Afterwards, CAMPers moved to drawing a 4X2Y polygon and identifying the X and Y axes. Japheth, building off of Shoshi’s Art Class, touched on the fascinating craft of hexaflexagons, highlighting the importance of precise angles to create a perfect one. Then, CAMPers faced a challenge: figuring out the angular domino effect of Japheth’s hexaflexagon if it had been first folded with a 76-degree angle instead of a 60-degree angle.

CAMPers revisited star polygons, this time focusing on a seven-sided star. CAMPers learned how to use the external angle method to determine the internal angles of each point, adding another layer to their geometric knowledge.

In Frances’ Sine class, CAMPers began with a review from the previous day before diving into more shapes that tessellate. CAMPers explored why these new shapes work in tessellations and hypothesized whether a decagon (10-sided polygon) would also tessellate. This eventually led to a discussion on whether a flat plane could be considered a square.

Using blocks, CAMPers configured different tessellations from previous days, experimenting with various patterns and shapes. They observed the unique properties of each shape and how they fit together seamlessly, enhancing their understanding of geometric relationships.

After lunch and before the rain in the afternoon, CAMPers had the opportunity to participate in various electives!

In Intro to Circuits, CAMPers continued their projects from yesterday. They successfully conducted electricity through their creations, lighting up LED bulbs. They learned about the role of resistance in preventing conduction and how the pressure they applied to their projects affected the outcome. CAMPers also experimented with breadboards, learning how to make their LED lights flash by controlling the flow of electricity through them.

Some CAMPers took a walk to the Parliament of Reality with Yulia, exploring Bard College’s beautiful campus.

Others stayed inside and tackled Paper Puzzles with Mason and Gemma, exercising their problem-solving muscles:

And the rest of the CAMPers attended Unit Origami with special guests Milo Pomarico and CAMP alumni Hadley Parum! Milo and Hadley led CAMPers through an exciting art elective, creating a Bird Tetrahedron. All CAMPers worked together to build the base of the structure, and will be able to put it all together by the end of the week, constructing one large Bird Tetrahedron out of everyone’s hard work.

Shoshi’s Art Class was a hit, guiding CAMPers through the intricate process of assembling wooden blocks to create magic cubes that could transform into various shapes. Each CAMPer had the chance to personalize their cubes with unique designs, colors, and patterns, allowing them to express their individuality and artistic flair. The activity not only honed their craftsmanship and attention to detail but also illustrated the intersection of art and geometry.

As the CAMPers worked on their projects, Shoshi played music that added a lively ambiance to the classroom. The combination of creativity, music, and hands-on learning made for an enjoyable art session. The CAMPers left the class with a sense of accomplishment and a deeper appreciation for the artistic potential of geometric shapes.

Yulia’s Computer Science Class continued to build on the fundamentals of turtle graphics. CAMPers reviewed how to draw with turtles, set their colors, and change their shapes. They also learned new commands such as “rt num,” “lt num,” and “fd num,” which allowed them to create more complex drawings.

CAMPers drew regular and isosceles triangles and polygons with their turtles, even managing to draw a human figure! Yulia introduced the concept of X and Y in their world, helping CAMPers understand how these coordinates correspond to their drawings.

Then, they moved on to creating patch mosaics and learned how to use functions in their code to automate the drawing of polygons. This coding exercise sparked creativity and problem-solving skills among the CAMPers.

Finally, CAMPers convened in the art classroom for their final activities, including block tessellations, group games, and more origami. Since CAMP Day 1, there has been considerable debate among the CAMPers about turtles: whether they should be kept “alive” for their value, “dead” to create something new, or if they aren’t living at all, making neither answer correct. The poll results are as follows:

As another day at the Bard Math CAMP comes to an end, we look forward to more adventures and discoveries tomorrow. The teamwork, creativity, and enthusiasm of all the CAMPers continues to inspire us. Stay tuned for more updates!

## CAMP 2024 Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of the Bard Math CAMP 2024!

CAMPers started the day with some opening activities designed to get minds moving. “Top This!” and “Block by Block”, along with other various games, were not only fun but also great for sharpening problem-solving skills. Everyone enjoyed the variety games, adding a sense of excitement and energy to the morning.

In Japheth’s Math Class, CAMPers began by reviewing yesterday’s lessons and assignments. CAMPers had been tasked with looking up the names of certain polygons, such as 19-sided and 20-sided polygons. Japheth and CAMPers went over these names and used new formulas to figure out the interior angles of these large polygons.

The class also explored 5-pointed star polygons, learning about the internal angles of these stars and discussed the properties that differentiate them from regular polygons. One of the highlights was understanding why tessellations of a flat plane can be reduced to hexagons, triangles, and squares. The CAMPers grasped this concept through an algebraic proof, blending geometric insight with algebraic reasoning.

Frances’ Math Class was guided through the world of regular polygons. Building on yesterday’s lesson on tessellating triangles and discovering that their angles sum up to 180 degrees, the class applied this knowledge to explore the angles in other polygons.

CAMPers reviewed the properties of regular polygons and calculated the measure of each angle in these shapes. Using pattern blocks, they created tessellations and demonstrated the necessity for all angles meeting at a vertex to sum up to 360 degrees.

Following their morning classes, CAMPers were able to sit outside in the sun and enjoy their lunch provided by Tastebudd’s Cafe, located in Red Hook, NY.

After lunch, CAMPers enjoyed a variety of activities!

Some CAMPers played various lawn games outside of Kline Commons with Mason and Gemma:

Frances dazzled others with mathematical card tricks, teaching CAMPers how to execute them on their own:

And Shiven led a session on circuits, where CAMPers created a circuit using copper tape and LED lights, while designing the front of their project to incorporate their respective LED light colors. Tomorrow, they will connect their batteries to their projects to conduct electricity through their circuits, completing their innovative creations!

In the Cosecant and Secant Art Classes, Shoshi introduced CAMPers to the intriguing concept of Origami Hexatetraflexagons. These fascinating geometric shapes added an imaginative twist to the day. CAMPers explored the construction and properties of hexatetraflexagons, learning how to fold and manipulate these paper structures to reveal hidden faces and patterns.

Shoshi encouraged CAMPers to experiment with colors and designs within their hexatetraflexagons. This activity not only honed their origami skills but also provided a deeper appreciation for the geometric principles behind these captivating shapes. The session was filled with creativity and excitement as CAMPers marveled at the beautiful results of their work!

Yulia’s Cosecant and Secant Computer Science Classes continued to explore the exciting world of computer science. CAMPers started by reviewing topics from yesterday on NetLogo, such as creating turtles, setting colors and attributes, and switching from observer mode to turtle mode. Yulia reemphasized that algorithms are like recipes – order matters!

CAMPers then expanded their skills by learning about patches, how to change the color of the world, and making the turtles do various things. Yulia showed CAMPers how to change the turtles directions to draw complex patterns and how to teleport their turtles. These new skills allowed CAMPers to create even more intricate and colorful designs with their turtles.

As the second day came to an end, CAMPers gathered once again in the Art classroom for the final activities of the day. They dove into games, took on another Math Challenge, and socialized with their new friends as they awaited their families’ arrivals.

(P.S., In case your CAMPer is interested in using NetLogo at home, the download link is embedded in the bolded NetLogo phrase under Yulia’s CS Class section. Have fun!)

## 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.

## CAMP 2023 – Questions to Ponder

Calling all CAMPers, parents, and curious readers – CAMP math instructors Japheth and Frances have a few fun problems for you to think about for the rest of the summer:

Cookies and Kids: Kids A, B, C share a certain number of cookies (some might get zero). Find a systematic way to represent each way to share. Then arrange all the ways to share in a triangle. Hint: This problem has a hidden relationship involving the numbers 2 and 5. Can you find it? Bonus Question: Can you find a pattern for different numbers of kids, and/or different numbers of cookies?

Grid Paths: Point B is two blocks East and some number of blocks South from point A. How many paths are there from point A to point B that are of the shortest possible length? Find a systematic way to represent each possible path. Then arrange all the paths in a triangle. Bonus Question: We also looked at shortest walking paths in a square grid with walks North and East. Is there a pattern to the number of possible shortest walking paths when walking 2 blocks North and b blocks East? What about when walking 3 blocks North and b blocks East?

Spot It! : Seven was the largest number of symbols and cards we found if there are 3 symbols per card. Is 7 the largest possible number of cards that could be made with 3 symbols per card? Prove (or disprove) this statement. Hint: How can we know when something is impossible or possible but not yet figured out?

Spot It!Bonus Question 1: Is the largest number of cards that can be made always equal to the number of symbols? Bonus Question 2: Can decks of Spot It! Cards be made for any number of symbols per card or are there numbers for which cards cannot be created? Bonus Question 3: The decks sold have missing cards. Are there efficient ways to find which cards were omitted? Bonus Question 4: How many cards and symbols are there in a deck of 7 Spot It? Then design a deck of 7-Spot It, which some people claim does not exist.

Fractions: 2/3 x 5/7 can be thought of as “2/3 of 5/7”. If we use a circle to represent the number one, what can be drawn in the circle to demonstrate the meaning of and answer to 2 ⁄ 3 x 5/7 ?

Pascal’s Triangle: Pascal’s Triangle is full of interesting relationships. Keep looking at it and write the ones you discover. What other questions do you have about these topics?

Have fun, and keep exploring!

## CAMP 2023 Day 5

It’s the 5th and final day of the 10th year of CAMP. This morning, while they puzzled out Slitherlink challenges, magic tricks, and Set – games that many of them had never seen before the beginning of the week – the CAMPers recieved their ocean blue T-shirts, just in time for a big group photo on the stairs inside RKC.

After that, the CAMPers split into SINE and COS for math class, where both groups were working on ice cream bowl problems (and their variations). The SINE group game together to discuss their solutions to the problems they worked on yesterday: the ice cream problem, the handshake problem, the shortest-paths problem, and the sharing-cookies problem. Next, Frances introduced them to Pascal’s Triangle, a triangle of numbers where the middle entry below two numbers is always the sum of those two numbers. The CAMPers constructed the triangle from scratch, then looked along its diagonals, finding the counting numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc) and the triangular numbers.

“In France, there are actually streets named after mathematicians and schools named after mathematicians… There’s a street named after Pascal.”

– Frances

Meanwhile, COS continued working on their table from Day 4, which showed the number of ice cream flavors and the number of ice cream bowl (ICB) combinations for a 2-scoop ICB. The CAMPers observed that the number of ICB combinations was always a triangular number (a number made from summing up counting numbers): 1 + 2 = 3, 1 + 2 + 3 = 6, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10, 1 + 2+ 3 + 4 + 5 = 15, etc … . Japheth then handed out individual problems for each of the smaller groups to investigate. Their goal was to find an isomorphism between them – to figure out what made the problems the same. They found that the handshake problem was isomorphic to (the same as) the ice cream bowl problem… the two remaining problems – shortest paths and cookies – were left to the CAMPers as puzzles to think about for the rest of the summer.

In Art class, the CSC group wrapped up their Spot It! decks, origami cranes, and doodles for the end-of-CAMP photo booth.

Meanwhile, in CS class, the SEC group worked on drawing a ball, making it move, and controlling all the aspects of its motion on the canvas – for example, speed in a certain direction, with ballspeed_x and ballspeed_y. Next, they learned about void draw(), void setup(), and void keyPressed(), which helps to organize the code, making it look less messy on the screen by grouping pieces of code together. At the end of class, Arnav showed the CAMPers some of the mesmerizing creations that use Java processing – for example, https://bleuje.com/gifanimationsite/2023_1/ .

“You should all be proud of yourselves… in, like, 5 hours of study, you’ve already covered more in processing than a lot of people have in their college classes.”

– Arnav

After class, CAMPers grouped together for Friday electives – AMC contest problems, decorating the photo booth, and more tic-tac-toe variations with sidewalk chalk.

In Computer Science, the CSC group learned more about the inner workings of a computer. They talked about input – the information that the computer receives, from buttons on a keyboard or a microphone – and output, which appears on the screen or from the speakers. The input is stored as the computer’s memory, either volatile (temporary) or non-volatile (permanent, unless you delete it). They talked about the CPU (Central Processing Unit) before switching gears to talk about text binary – the CAMPers wrote “hello” notes to each other in 0’s and 1’s as their last activity before the open house

… where, at the end of the day, the CAMPers were given the chance to showcase the puzzles, games, and code they had been working on all week.

(A Tip for Parents: If you want a first-hand account of what your child has been learning this week, be sure to take a peek at their notebook! )

The 10th year of CAMP was an absolute blast – an explosion of creativity, where everyone jumped in to ask questions, try ideas out, and work as a team on a quest for the answer. This week, the CAMPers dove right into new concepts, exploring areas of math, CS, and art that most of them had never touched before – from magic tricks to juggling to coding in Java, to the intricacies of ice cream scoops and Spot It! and computers. Wherever they go next, they’ll be able to tap into the new kind of thinking they learned at CAMP – a mindset of questioning, exploration, and discovery.

## CAMP 2023 Day 4

The sun is shining over RKC – setting the stage for lots of summer fun at CAMP! This morning, CAMPers got together in the auditorium to solve more math puzzles – the Towers of Hanoi, Rush Hour, and shape-matching challenges. The problem of the day: Completely fill a 3×3 grid with X’s and O’s. How many of these configurations have three X’s or O’s in a row?

In math class today, SINE broke into four smaller groups to work on four different but similar problems: finding the number of possible handshakes between 5 people, then taking 3-way handshakes into account; finding the number of 2-scoop ice cream bowls you can make with 5 different flavors, then doing the same for 3-scoop bowls; figuring out the shortest path out of all the different ways to move by 2 blocks north and 3 blocks east, then generalizing to b blocks in any direction; and finally, determining the number of ways for 3 kids to share 3 cookies – or more than 3 cookies.

“The ice cream bowls are shaking hands!”

Meanwhile, the COS group started analyzing 8-Spot-It! – the classic version. They started with existing Spot It! decks, putting cards in piles based on the symbols they found on a randomly-drawn card C. Next, they chose one pile (A) to put back in the box, laying out the remaining cards in columns and rows that matched the top card of the pile, and discussed the observations and questions they had.

After that, they switched gears to solving the same ice cream bowl problem that the SINE group was working on – How many unique 3-scoop ice cream bowls can we get with 5 different flavors of ice cream? The first scoop gave them 5 choices, the second 4 choices, and the third 3 choices, which multiplied together to give 60 choices. However, the CAMPers found that in counting combinations they had actually over-counted by a factor of 6, since there were 6 ways to get the same ice cream bowl with each combination of 3 flavors.

After math class, CAMPers in the CSC group walked over to the art room, where they worked on origami, highly ambitious 7-symbol Spot It! decks, and beaded Fibonacci necklaces.

In Computer Science, the SEC group learned about using booleans (true or false) and comparators (>, <, greater than or equal to, less than or equal to) to write conditionals: “if” statements with conditions on variables x and y. They also learned about “if else” statements, which tell the computer what to do if the variable does not satisfy the condition. Breaking off into their usual groups, the CAMPers used these concepts to make their drawings bounce in different directions – up and down, side to side, and diagonally.

The CAMPers had lots of fun outdoor electives to choose from – a hike to the Sawkill waterfall, more magic tricks with Frances, variations on tic-tac-toe with sidewalk chalk outside the building, and, drumroll please: Break-Your-Brain Rhythm Games!

After lunch, the CSC group learned about bits and bytes, which are used to store data in a computera bit takes a value of 1 or 0, while a byte is an 8-bit (binary) number. The instructors explained why kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes aren’t “clean” numbers ending in a bunch of 0’s: All of them are powers of 2.

The CAMPers were treated to a special investigation – opening up an actual computer and taking it apart! This allowed them to search for the basic parts of the computer and answer questions: Where does it hold its power? Where does the memory live?

The CAMPers were able to find….

• The Central Processing Unit (CPU) …
• The transistors, little switches that flip between 0 and 1 …
• The motherboard, the most important circuit board, which basically holds everything together …
• The RAM (Random Access Memory) chips, which store the computer’s volatile memory …
• The capacitors, which are like little battery tanks that hold small amounts of energy …
• The hard drive, which is made up of spinning magnetic disks that encode 0’s and 1’s …
• … and the fans (to keep the CPU from overheating).

At the end of a long and eventful day, the CAMPers wound down by playing math games and working on their magic tricks.

Day 4 was full of new adventures, breathtaking views, and mathematical magic. We can’t wait to find out what tomorrow will bring!

Photo Credit: Kateri Doran (images 1-11, 13-19, 24-28), Julianne Louie (image 12), Japheth Wood (Featured Image, images 20-23).

## CAMP 2023 Day 3

This morning, the CAMPers gathered in the auditorium for a collection of math puzzles and the new problem of the day: How many Tower of Hanoi board states are there? The CAMPers had fun trying to work it out, rewriting the problem on the board – in the Greek alphabet. Right before breaking up into their usual Math groups, Japheth led them all in the International Math Salute.

Following up on the argument they made yesterday, the COS group worked together to prove that there couldn’t be an 8th symbol in a 3-Spot-It! deck. They then drew up a graph that brings to mind the “Deathly Hallows” from Harry Potter, showing the 7 cards as nodes and the symbol in common between two cards as edges. Next, they broke up into smaller groups to work on designing a 4-Spot-It! deck – What’s the greatest number of cards we can get with 4 symbols on each card? Some of the CAMPers observed that for the 2- , 3- , and 4-Spot-It! cases, the number of symbols was the same as the number of cards. To look for more patterns, they took the difference between the number of cards in n-Spot-It! and (n-1)-Spot-It! , then took the difference between the differences – getting 2 every time. Leaving this conjecture as a cliffhanger for a later date, the CAMPers embarked on a final investigation – to make one pile for each symbol using existing Spot It! decks.

Meanwhile, the SINE group used tree diagrams to explore the main concepts of combinatorics. Taking the letters S, T, R, and E, they mapped out all the possibilities of what letter could come after each letter in a word, branches branching off into other branches. They followed different branches to make different words like SET, REST, STREET, TEETERS, and – appropriately – TREES. The CAMPers continued their discussion by breaking into two smaller groups to work on these examples: choosing ice cream flavors for a multi-scoop cone, and choosing paths to take when going from Point A to Point B. How many combinations are there? How many choices do we have?

In Computer Science class, the SEC group learned about the random() function, void setup() and void() , variable assignment – how to turn x into (x+1) in order to move a shape somewhere else on the canvas. Their challenge for today: Rather than just moving your drawing around, can you make your drawing move in an animation?

After class, the students joined their elective groups: more magic tricks, more paper puzzles (AKA the Harry Potter debate club), as well as origami.

During lunch, the rain started pouring outside Kline, and the CAMPers had to break out their umbrellas to make it to their next classes – Art and Computer Science.

CSC went to Computer Science, where they continued to learn about truth tables. Then they broke into small groups, using logical operators to write out a combination of A and B that was equivalent to the XOR (exclusive or) operator. Then they took out Little Bits (batteries, cables, and LEDs) to make an XOR statement in real life.

In the Art room, music was blasting while the SEC group continued working on their Spot It! cards, then dove into a variety of artistic and mathematical endeavors – Fibonacci challenges, 4×4 tic-tac-toe, pink paper airplanes, and optical illusions.

Afterwards, the two groups converged in the auditorium – finally dry and ready for some math games.

New ideas, new methods, new questions and answers filled Day 3 with color, excitement, and fun! The CAMPers made so many new discoveries today, leading to even more unanswered questions – perfect to tackle with zeal on Day 4.

## CAMP 2023 Day 2

The second day of this year’s CAMP started off with a variety of fun math gamesGhost Blitz, Spot It! , a big game of Set, the towers of Hanoi, and a miniature version of chess. The CAMPers were also presented with a “problem of the day”: How many possible Ghost Blitz cards are there?

“… If the object is on the card, then you grab [that object], and if not, you grab the [object] that has nothing in common with the others.”

In Frances’ math class, small groups within SINE had come up with different conclusions about how many cards you could possibly get with a certain number symbols on each card. They were each asked to draw and explain their diagram solutions at the board – some using the “line method”, some using the “grouping method” to show every combination of symbols.

Meanwhile, the COS group launched into an in-depth analysis of Spot It! (both the full and junior versions), making observations to ask questions about how the game works and trying it out together as a class by constructing simple versions – 0 symbols, 1 symbol, 2 symbols – from scratch. Next, the broke into small groups to tackle the 3-symbol case.

To get started, one group decided to use digits instead of letters to stand in for symbols, recognizing that Rule #3 of Spot It! caused Symbol 1 to appear on every card. They then used process of elimination to figure out what the other digits (symbols) on each card should be – once two cards have one symbol in common, they can’t have any other symbols in common. By the end of class, the CAMPers had come up with a pretty solid argument that with 3 symbols per card, there must be 7 cards.

After math class, the SEC group brought their flash drives to Computer Science, where they continued their exploration of shapes and coordinates, then brainstormed how they would go about making shapes that change. Next, they talked about how to fill in color values and how RGB colors channels work – each 24-bit pixel is split between the R channel, the G channel, and the B channel, so they each get 8 pixels. After that, they split into groups, planning out the code to make a shape and change its color – on paper, before they tackled the computers.

After class, CAMPers met in the RKC lobby to sort themselves into their pre-lunch elective groups: learning mathematical magic tricks with Frances, practicing the ability to think fast with improv games, and solving more pencil-and-paper puzzles.

After a great lunch at the Kline Dining Commons (plus unlimited scoops of delicious local ice cream), the CAMPers split up again into CSC and SEC for Computer Science and Art, respectively.

Computer Science at CAMP focuses on the underlying properties of computers and the instructions that humans feed into them. Understanding binary (strings of 0’s and 1’s that encode base-10 numbers), as well as logical operators (NOT, AND, OR, etc.), sets the foundation for the CAMPers to learn any programming language they choose in the future. With those two concepts in mind, the CSC group started working with truth tables to put it all together.

Meanwhile, the SEC group made progress on their Spot It! decks, adding the symbols they designed to index cards.

At the end of the day, the CAMPers all filed into the Bito Auditorium for more math games, like Ghost Blitz, Chocolate Fix, Rush Hour, and Set.

Day 2 got all the CAMPers thinking deeper and going further, asking questions and working together to find the answers. The rain outside didn’t stop them from using their trademark creativity to find ways to have fun indoors. We can’t wait for more discoveries on Day 3!

Photo Credit: Japheth Wood (featured image), Kateri Doran (images 1-19, 21-30), Shoshi Cohen (image 20).

## CAMP 2023 Day 1

This year marks an exciting point in the history of CAMP: the program’s 10th anniversary! Starting today, the CAMPers (some returning, some new) are going to learn about combinatorics – the mathematics of counting and combining things.

First thing this morning, the CAMPers gathered under the staircase in the Reem-Kayden Center to try out a variety of Spot It! games – with themes like Pixar, Minions, Marvel, and Harry Potter. Each box has a deck of circular cards, and each card has a certain number of symbols on it. Any two cards will have exactly one symbol in common, no matter which cards you pick out. There are lots of ways to play, but most groups started with the simple yet highly competitive version: Whoever finds the common symbol first “slaps” the card and gets to take it.

After a quick orientation (and a “Happy Birthday” song for one of our CAMPers), the SINE group started talking about fractions – how to think about fractions as things (like apples or elephants) when considering operations like division of fractions. CAMPers learned that what we’re really doing when we divide 3/4 by 2/3 is put the fractions into a common denominator – 9/12 and 8/12 – then divide 9 pieces into groups of 8 pieces each. You would get one group with a remainder: 8/8 + 1/8 = 9/8.

“If I had 10 apples and I asked you to put 2 oranges into a group, could you do it? No, because apples aren’t oranges.”

“What we really need to do is let go of our predisposed notions and realize that apples ARE oranges.”

Next, they broke into groups to analyze the Spot It! decks: How many cards are there in each deck? How many symbols are there on each card?

Then Frances introduced them to a useful tool: Graphs. In the case of Spot It!, dots represent individual symbols and lines represent the connections between them – the cards they have in common. The CAMPers made graphs with pipe cleaner edges tied together at each node, while others chose to draw them on paper.

In Computer Science class, the SEC group started processing in Java – in other words, getting the computer to draw stuff. They learned about functions like size() (which controls the size of the canvas) and different shapes – for example, ellipse() . Given the function ellipse(100, 100, 50, 30); , the CAMPers were asked to “vote” on the following question: Where on the screen will the ellipse appear, and why? Next, they were given a coding challenge: Create a canvas of 800 by 800, then draw 4 ellipses, one at the center of each quadrant. Finally, they learned to use the rect() function to create – you guessed it – a rectangle and figured out the function to change the color of a shape.

After class, the CAMPers split up into groups, each with a fun elective to try: learning to juggle with Japheth, trying out pencil-and-paper puzzles like “Star Battle”, and learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube with CS instructor Shiven. The CAMPers had a lot of fun with indoor activities, even though a thunderstorm was brewing outside.

After lunch, the CSC group had Computer Science class, where they learned about converting numbers to binary – the language of computers.

Meanwhile, the SEC group went to Art class to start brainstorming symbols for their own personalized Spot It! decks.

Finally, the CAMPers reconvened in the auditorium for a “math fair” of games, activities, and puzzles to choose from: paper puzzles, Rubik’s Cubes, Set, and of course, Spot It!

The first day of CAMP’s 10th year was full of fun puzzles, new challenges, and lots of laughs! Using their creativity to answer questions as they come up will set a great foundation for their explorations on Day 2.

## CAMP 2022 Day 5

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)