BEAM 2017

Weekends at Union: hiking, water park, field day, and Six Flags!

What do we do at BEAM on weekends? Check it out!

First, on Sunday, July 16, the Union students went hiking at Grafton Lakes State Park.  The mellow group explored the woods while the hardcore group hiked ~7 miles and climbed the fire tower!

The next day, Monday, July 17, we went to Zoom Flume water park, for fun with water rides, wave pools, and zip lines!

On Sunday, July 23, we had a field day on campus. In the battle of green vs. yellow vs. blue vs. red vs. purple vs. orange... orange won the day!

And, of course, our final field trip was to Six Flags on a very rainy day!

We've been having so much fun at Union!

Weekend 2 at Bard: Debates, Relays, and Field Day

Instructor Tanya gathers the attention of members of the Orange Team as everybody prepares for Field Day activities.

Instructor Tanya gathers the attention of members of the Orange Team as everybody prepares for Field Day activities.

It has been a jam-packed weekend at Bard BEAM 7, with Saturday marking the end of week 2 courses, an impromptu student-vs.-staff debate, round 2 of relays, and an all-day Field Day concluding with a student-vs.-staff game of capture the flag.

Saturday Highlights:

Saturday was marked by a sudden decision which will likely leave a lasting legacy at BEAM 7: a program wide debate. After some quick logistical considerations, the plan became to have four rounds of student vs. staff debates, with the groups of student and staff debaters changing with each round. The groups of students who debated against staff were determined earlier in the day by having various groups of students practice debating against each other, with the staff choosing the groups which they believed would pose the biggest challenge.

So about what exactly did we debate? After careful consideration, the debate moderators--consisting of counselor Dave as well as students Jade, Camila, and Anthony--decided on four pressing, relevant, and emotional topics. At the beginning of each round, each side was randomly assigned to either argue FOR the issue at hand, or AGAINST it. The topics were as follows:

  1. Should high school students be guaranteed a daily recess?
  2. Should BEAM allow cell phones at all meals with out any rules?
  3. Should Modules be abolished from the BEAM program?
  4. Does pineapple belong on pizza?

After each round, all individuals who did not participate in that round got to vote on which side they thought argued their stance better. Staff won rounds 1 and 4 arguing for required recess and pineapple on pizza. Students won rounds 2 and 3 arguing against allowing cell phones but arguing to keep Modules in BEAM.

Immediately following these intense debates were another round of relays. Relays are a team-style competition where students complete problems in order to gain points. The teams with the most points get to choose from a selection of neat prizes! Check out some pictures of the event below.

Sunday: FIELD DAY!

First of all, what constitutes a "Field Day"? Field Days can take many forms, and the exact schedule of one can vary across different summer programs. The general idea, however, is a day full of fun activities in which teams compete against each other to earn points--the team with the most points at the end of the day wins! For BEAM's field day, the winning team was rewarded with an extra helping of dessert at dinner.


Field Day!

After starting the morning with a late breakfast, students and staff divided up into the four field day teams: Red, Green, Purple, and Orange. With two staff members leading each team of 10, Field Day began with a 30 minute team meeting where strategy for the first event was discussed and face paint was distributed to get into the spirit of each team's color. Once everybody was decorated and ready, field day began! Here was the schedule of events:

  1. 11-12 Photo Scavenger Hunt
  2. 12-1 Break for Lunch and Opening Ceremonies
  3. 1-1:30 Team Relay - Ping Pong Ball Balancing, Hula Hooping, and Jump Roping
  4. 1:30-2 Human Knots
  5. 2-2:45 Dance Off Competition
  6. 2:45-3:15 Frisbee Throwing for Accuracy and Sponge Relay
  7. 3:15-4:15 Tug of War and Break
  8. 4:15-5 Water Balloon Fight and Water Balloon Cleanup Competition

After all the activities were finished, students got some down time before heading to dinner, with a game of Capture the Flag--again, students vs. staff--following dinner. Check out field day photos below!

I really enjoyed field day because I got to do things that I’ve never been able to do in the city before. Playing tug-of-war, having a dance off, and participating in a water balloon fight were all incredible.
— Sebastian

A Day in the Life of BEAM!

What are students up to at BEAM 7? Follow us through a day at Union College!

First, classes! This week, students are taking the following classes:

  • Exploring Infinity
  • Numbers, Patterns, and Proof
  • SET and Combinatorics 
  • Logic and Proofs
  • Solving Big Problems
  • Math Team Strategies

Here are some photos from classes!

In the morning and the afternoon, students take activities: we offer sports, arts & crafts, library time, yoga, and so much more!  Check it out:

We're loving the meals at Union! Check out all these smiling faces at lunch:

In the afternoon, students have class, activities, class, then dinner.

After dinner, we return to the dorm for evening free time:

We cap out the day with Modules -- independent study designed to build stronger foundations in elementary and middle school math so students are even more ready for advanced math in the future. 

Then, it's off to hall meetings and then bed, so we're ready for another day of BEAM!

Welcome to Bard!

We started the day with families and staff meeting at Bryant Park. Everyone was super excited to meet the students, and they all made a great first impression! Everyone took the documentary crew in stride and we began to see many friendships forming. Especially when students and staff went out for lunches.

The students then boarded the bus and were off to Bard! Upon arrival, they were given tours, got to know the campus, and soon got right to problem solving and game playing. 

An entry from a student: 

At first I was very nervous to arrive to BEAM, but as soon as I got to see a few familiar faces and began to have great conversations with my peers, I was really excited to start classes.
— Camila Perez

We can't wait to see how these students grow over the next few weeks, and to share some of this amazing experience with all of you! 

Day 0: Welcome to Union College!

Staff welcome

Sunday, July 9, 10am: our staff arrive at Bryant Park and wait for the students to arrive!

The first students join us for board games (like Blokus!) in the park. After a filling lunch, the bus departs and we're on our way to Union!

Blokus at Bryant Park

At 4pm on Sunday, our bus arrives to Union!  It's time to unload our luggage, get keys, unpack, and explore the dorm, including making door decorations!

Then, we ended the day with a welcome meeting so we know what to expect for the rest of BEAM. Welcome to Union!

Admissions Week

It's Admissions Week!  Our BEAM 7 admissions decisions go out tomorrow and our BEAM 6 decisions follow next Friday.

One of the most interesting aspects of BEAM 7 for 2017 is that we are, for the first time ever, admitting many students we already know -- alumni of BEAM 6! All BEAM 7 applicants take our admissions challenge, featuring problems similar to those detailed in the New York Times feature about BEAM and BEAM 6 -- problems that test thinking without relying too heavily on background knowledge. Promising candidates new to BEAM are also invited to an interview to get to know the student and to get to know their mathematical skills by doing problems together.

Our BEAM 6 alums, however, skipped the interviews: we already know them! Instead, they were asked to submit applications to allow us to gauge what they gained from BEAM 6, why they want to attend BEAM 7, and how BEAM can help them reach their goals. Here are some of our favorite responses:







Ivy Harvard.jpg








Thays next steps.jpg


We are thrilled to have 28 BEAM 6 alumni among the students coming to Bard College for BEAM 7 this summer, and to admit 54 student who are new to us as well! Congratulations to all!