This summer, at BEAM Summer Away at Harvey Mudd College, we asked students, What was your favorite math problem of the summer?
Adib chose a problem from the class Solving Big Problems: Can you add or subtract the numbers between 1 through n inclusive to get 0?
Don Laackman, BEAM’s Program Coordinator and the Site Director for Summer Away at Harvey Mudd, said of this problem: “This is a central problem for the class; it requires a proof of impossibility, thinking about divisibility issues, and the solution goes on to be very useful in a problem in graph theory that students tackle later on.”
Check out Adib’s work below.
The students in Solving Big Problems take time to explore this problem, building up the pieces to solve it. This summer, after the students had completed the problem, they got to see a faculty member and a counselor tackle it together, talking through their thought process so students could see how people with lots of advanced math experience approached the very same problem they already knew well.
Check out more student work (and more about what BEAM has been up to this year) in our 2019 Annual Report.