Bard College

Weekend Fun and our Start of week 2!

Week one has come to end and it is time for some off-campus enjoyment!

As the well-anticipated end of the week arrived, BEAM students prepared themselves for a weekend full of activities. Upon Monday morning's arrival, as a part of their daily routine, students headed to the dining hall prepared to stack up on the nutrients which that will help them power through the busy day. After breakfast and a few turns of water bottles filling, kids made their way to the coach bus-- now fully ready to embark on their mini road trip.  


After both check-ins at the water park and applying sunscreen, our young adolescent campers divided into small groups. While in their well-supervised small groups, they then made their way to water slides exploring what the park had to offer.

When lunchtime arrived at around 1 PM,  we once again, gathered as a camp, ate, and then, prepared to head back to Bard College. At the end of this fulfilling day, tired bodies guided themselves to bed expecting to be well rested for days ahead of them.


At BEAM, Tuesdays mark the start of a new week. Just a day after their water park fun,  BEAM students were mentally ready to go in their classes and hold class discussions on Symmetries and problem-solving theories. When completely submerging themselves into their classes either as a group or as individuals, these students have shown an immense amount of improvement. 

 We applaud the hard and effort applied by every student.  As we approach our last week of camp, we can only encouraged that this habit continues to be practiced beyond BEAM.

Our First Week at Bard!

What does it feels like to be a middle school student taking challenging math courses? Ask BEAM students as they have the answers to most of your questions whether mathematical or not. 


For the most part, BEAM students have been describing their first week of Math classes as both challenging and fun. As their regular schedule starts at 7:45 AM with a walk to the dining hall, our young adolescents are always reminded of the busy schedule ahead of them.


However, to remain focused in their classes and maximize their performance in some of their favorite activities, our students are learning healthy habits such as correct meal portions, staying hydrated, and good communication skills. 


Life at Bard can be described as anything but ordinary. Through daily interactions with their peers, our students are learning how to respect each other's ideas beyond classrooms.


No matter the situation that these thinkers are placed in, their eagerness to ask questions and help each other surpass their current mental and physical state. Their hard work and dedication has indeed marked a successful ending of their first week at Bard College.

Entering Week Two at Bard

BEAM 7 students and staff pose at the end of their hike atop the North South Lake campground.

BEAM 7 students and staff pose at the end of their hike atop the North South Lake campground.

Week 1 at the Bard Campus has come to a very exciting close, and Week 2 is promising to be even better than the last! There were amazing guest speakers, two thrilling field trips, and many other fun activities, both math related and not. Take a peek below for some highlights from moments in class throughout the week:

Week 1 topics courses concluded on Saturday, which means the second week of classes started this past Tuesday! This week, instructors have the following course offerings:

  • Cryptography: Having Secrete Conversations in Public
  • Group Theory
  • The Royal Family, Evil Guy, and Evolution of Number Kingdoms
  • The Chinese Remainder Theorem
  • Math Team Strategies
  • Solving Big Problems

Consistent with last week, students choose one of the first four options as their topics course, and they also choose one of the last two for their problem solving course. But what other opportunities do students have to explore fun mathematical concepts besides in class? In addition to a camp wide challenge problems--the second of which has yet to be solved--students partake in "Modules" Tuesday-Friday night. Modules gives the students a chance to see the mathematical concepts of the flavor they are likely to see in school, but they're slightly trickier and help develop quick and efficient mathematical problem solving skills.  

In Other News...

We had many exciting things happen this week! With the conclusion of the first round of topics courses on Saturday, the students were rewarded with the first round of relays: a competition between groups of students where they must solve math puzzles while completing specific tasks to earns points--the teams with the most points get their peak of some neat prizes. In addition to that, students got the privilege to listen to 2 guest speakers on Saturday: Stephen Wolfram and Pedro Poitevin. Stephen Wolfram is a renowned mathematician and computer scientist who developed the popular program Mathematica and website Pedro Poitevin is a mathematics professor at Salem State University in Massachusetts, and he was also the undergraduate adviser to Javier, one of the instructors. Check out the pictures of Saturday's exciting events below!


As a weekend treat, we went on a group hike at the North South Lake campground, where most students and staff made the 2 hour trek to the top. After enjoying a stunning view of upstate New York, there was a picnic ready and waiting at our hike's starting point, where the kids got to spend some well-deserved free time hanging out and playing games before packing up to head back to Bard.

Students getting ready to start their hike!

Students getting ready to start their hike!

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! 

Waking Up At BEAM

On Sunday, the BEAMers had woken up to the hustle and bustle of the city, but this Monday morning, they woke up to the country side’s silence.

After a pleasant walk to the dining hall through the ivy-covered and tree-filled campus, the students had breakfast, boosting their brains for the following Opening Challenge Set, a test designed to measure where the students are at in math. After completing the test, the BEAMers were taken outside, where icebreakers took place, even though the ice had broken a long time ago. Lunch followed, and then the students split up into their respective halls (Hopper, Noether, Ramanujan, and Euler) and received a step-by-step orientation on everything from their daily schedule to how to do laundry. Additionally, each student opened an Art of Problem Solving account as well. The BEAMers were then split up into the activities they had signed up for the night before, these being charades, soccer, a tour of the campus, and Fluxx (a card game). Afterwards, the BEAM instructors gave presentations on the courses they would be teaching this upcoming week, and the students filled out sheets with their preferences regarding the courses.

Later in the evening, while the instructors hid out, huddled together for hours, making sure every student was placed in the appropriate course, the BEAMers enjoyed free time back at the dorms and the basketball court. Hall meetings were held before bed, and the students would wake up tomorrow to their first day of class and to find out what course they’d been assigned to for the upcoming week. What a day for the BEAMers to look forward to.

A BEAMing First Day- Sunday, July 10, 2016


New York City stops for no one. Everything is fast paced, rushed, happening in the blink of an eye. However, the city momentarily stood still this morning as this year's students, better known as BEAMers, arrived at Bryant Park, officializing the beginning of the program.

Check-ins, form-filling, lunch runs, math conversations, and friend-making took place as everyday city-life unfolded on the sidelines. Parents, simultaneously happy, nervous, and proud, said their goodbyes, leaving their children to experience an unforgettable math and life experience.

After all the students had arrived to Bryant Park, both BEAMers and staff members made their way towards Bard College, their home and classroom for the next three weeks. The BEAM staff back at Bard, getting everything ready to the minutest detail, excitedly received the BEAM-filled bus, dorm keys in hand, ready to escort the students to their rooms and show them around. The students made personalized door signs for their rooms, settled in and unpacked, and were taken on tours of the campus.

Dinner came next, and the BEAM group sat together at the dining hall, first-day excitement permeating the very air. Opening ceremonies were held, during which the staff members introduced themselves, and students received a brief orientation. Afterwards, everyone headed back to the dorms, and there was free time for the rest of the evening until hall meetings. During hall meetings, counselors had students sign up for the next day's activities, and thoughts on the day's experience were shared.

Everyone fell asleep looking forward to the first sign of daylight, knowing a math-filled and BEAMing day awaited.