A Look Into BEAM Saturday Classes

In fall 2017, BEAM launched BEAM Next: a program that offers a range of prep and enrichment classes to students from grades 8 to 11 (we’re adding 12th grade opportunities next year!). Nearly every Saturday, students gather at Courant Institute*, the mathematics building on New York University’s Campus, to engage in classes catered to their interests in STEM. The year has been broken into three trimesters featuring different courses. A students day typically consists of two blocks of class and lunch. The morning classes, Things You Need to Know (TYNTK), are centered around the crucial topics students need to learn based on their grades.

8th grade students Yilin and Caroline team up for a combining like terms game in their Algebra class.

The topics grow as BEAM students grow. TYNTK covers:

  • 8th grade: SHSAT prep (fall) and Algebra 1 (winter, spring)

  • 9th grade & 10th grade: How to survive high school, a two-year sequence that covers everything from studying to outlining an essay to email management to calendars and organization

  • 11th grade: SAT/ACT prep (fall, winter) and college admissions support (spring)

  • 12th grade: college admissions support (fall, winter) and getting ready for college (spring)

Starting left, Zeina, Maryam, and Bryan walk through a problem with help from the Supplemental Algebra instructor Barbara.

Starting left, Zeina, Maryam, and Bryan walk through a problem with help from the Supplemental Algebra instructor Barbara.

Right now, 8th grade students enrolled in Saturday classes are taking either a Supplemental Algebra or Fast Paced Algebra course in order to ensure they have success on the Algebra 1 Regents in June, which opens the door to future math courses (especially Calculus!). Our Algebra classes are designed to help build a deeper understanding of the content and build on what is taught in their school’s curriculum. One student, Yilin says that “algebra class has helped reinforce a lot of past knowledge and has also helped to advance the foundation of important math skills”. The class isn’t meant to accelerate their learning but to add depth towards the material they already know. Algebra at BEAM gives students the opportunity to expand their problem solving skills and brings a fun challenge towards topics that they may have already learned.

After students leave Algebra, they scatter to their enrichment courses. Current offerings including computer programming in Python, graph theory, and evolution. We’ll share more about enrichment in a future week!

*We would like to thank the Courant Institute, the Center for Mathematical Talent, and New York University for the use of their classrooms, which are generously provided to BEAM at no cost.

Recap: BEAM Goes to Fall Yale Splash 2018!

Recently, nearly 70 BEAM alumni had the opportunity to travel to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut for one of our favorite yearly events: Yale Splash. This program offers students from 7-12 grade to enroll in courses that are taught by undergraduate volunteers in classrooms on campus. The students register online and get to pick their own classes and organize their own schedules. Yale Splash allows students to choose from an array of intriguing topics within many different fields. This year some of the students favorite courses included “Viking Age Iceland,” “The Science Behind Cookies,” and “Sharks: Nature’s Most Misunderstood.”

In my favorite and most interesting class, “How The Brain Works”, I learned that you actually see upside down but it’s your brain that flips your vision right side up.
— Ethan Chase, 8th Grade

After classes were dismissed, BEAM students reconvened at the library to meet with their assigned groups for tours. We had three undergraduate volunteers come to help give students a brief tour of campus and lead them to their assigned dining halls. A lot of our older students were especially excited to see a friendly face because Aishat Adekunle, a freshman at Yale and also a BEAM 7 alum from 2013 was one of our tour guides that evening! Although the weather was very choppy, students got see the ins and outs of a college campus. We explored the downtown area, ventured into the undergraduate commons and even got a sneak peek into student housing.

From this trip overall I learned that college is a lot of work, but now I’m ahead of the game. I’m way more informed about college life than most kids my age so I’m ready for it when it comes in 4 or 5 years thanks to BEAM.
— Amber Sosa, 8th Grade

After the tours, students were brought to the Yale dining halls for dinner. Fitting to BEAM, one of the dining halls we ate at is named after famous mathematician Grace Hopper. Students got to enjoy various foods and share with each other about their classes and highlights of the day. Afterwards, we all rallied back to buses for our journey back to New York City.

The pictures above feature many of our students throughout the day. The first picture is of 8th graders Yilin and Faoziah enjoying their 2 hour bus ride. Next, 11th grader Brianna and 8th grader Jeremiah show off their Yale Splash t-shirts. More 8th graders are shown hanging out; Ethan, Jeremiah and Amber are enjoying a quick break in the library’s lounge. Although it was quite rainy, Aishat got to reunite with some of her old friends from BEAM, Teo, Silvio, Rashik, Maria, Amanda and Elisa, before taking the students on a tour. Lastly, we have the same group eating at the John Edwards dining hall with Betty, one of the day time staff for the trip.

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.